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Modern Cleaning Concept’s Franchising Relationship

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Modern Cleaning Concept

This matter questioned whether the franchise, Modern Cleaning Concept Inc. (Modern), had a franchisor-franchisee relationship in place, or an employer-employee one. The trial court found the former, while the Québec Court of Appeal (QCOA) found the latter. Modern was ordered to pay compensation to the former franchisee. Fasken represented Modern at the Supreme Court of Canada. We argued that this relationship, as well as Modern’s relationships with all its franchisees, was clean and characteristic of a franchise and that the QCOA made several errors in its decision and analysis.

On May 3, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the actual relationship—not the words in a contract—will determine whether someone is an employee. The appeal was dismissed.

The ruling that the franchisor relationship qualifies as an employer-employee one will have substantial national consequences for the franchise industry as a whole.

A Fasken team composed of Marc-André Fabien, Frédéric Gilbert and Christine Provencher advised Modern Cleaning Concept in connection with this matter.


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