FAQs about Hiring Research Assistants (RA's)

Can RA's work in advance of pay being authorized?

No, having RA’s work in advance of pay being authorized highlights the following issues:

  • Legally, the employee is owed wages even if the grant money fails to arrive.
  • The employee is prevented from accumulating insurable hours for EI.
  • Inaccurate Record of Employment (ROE) may be created.
  • No liability coverage while working in advance of the approved grant [Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)].
Can I arrange it so that the RA is paid in advance of the end of the grant?

No, having the RA paid in advance could create the following issues:

  • Employee can leave without finishing work
  • Creates opportunity for inaccurate EI claim
  • No liability coverage past date when contract ends
When can RA’s commence work?

RA’s can commence work when:

  • Grant money has been received
  • Both the Grant Holder and RA have completed and provided HR with the required paperwork (see below for required paperwork)
  • Contract dates are accurate and communicated in writing and in advance to the RA
Can arrangements be made to pay the RA at the end of the grant in one lump sum?

Payment to RA’s are to be made on the pay period following their hours worked. In this way, the appropriate taxes will be deducted and liability coverage will be in place. This is also important when a Record of Employment is required. Correct amounts and hours must be reported on the Record of Employment by pay period.

If I have funds in another account and the grant monies have not arrived, can I use those funds so that I can have the RA commence work?

Arrangements may be made with the authorization of Financial Services to transfer funds in another account temporarily, until the grant funds arrive.

Do foreign workers need to pay EI and CPP?

Yes, unless the worker obtains a ruling from CRA and presents it to HR before the contract period begins. Foreign workers are also required to have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) and work permit before starting work. Please check Service Canada's guidelines.

Can I pay the RA as a contractor?

Please review the Employee Contracted Services Guidelines Policy on the HR website. To be considered a contractor, the RA must have a valid business number and meet the criteria as stated by Canada Revenue Agency's "Employee or Self-Employed?".