Assessment using the ICON Questionnaire

Departmental Responsibilities

It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that appropriate evidence including the ICON, and a contract signed by parties approved in Procedures 1 Contracts and Agreements - Excluding Research and 1A Contracts and Agreements - Research has been gathered to support the position that the University has engaged an independent contractor.

There are serious consequences if an employment relationship is mistakenly classified as an independent contractor relationship and the University pays the worker as an independent contractor.

Individuals completing the University portion of the questionnaire are acting as agents of the University and are therefore responsible for ensuring the answers are factually correct and that they obtain as complete and accurate of information as possible to help ensure that determinations will be appropriate.  Departments need to ensure that the proposed relationship is consistent with the answers in the questionnaire and that the contract, when put in place, is also consistent with the answers in the questionnaire.

Assessment Steps

Complete these steps if you are:

  • Seeking to engage an independent contractor (rather than seeking to engage an employee), or
  • Seeking to engage a worker who is requesting treatment as an independent contractor (rather than being treated as an employee).

This process applies when you are seeking to engage corporations when:

  • We are engaging the services of a specific worker, and
  • The specific worker is a shareholder or owner of the corporation being engaged.
  1. Prior to officially engaging the worker, the Service Types list should be reviewed to determine whether the type of relationship has been deemed employment.  If the relationship is employment in nature, then the worker must be engaged as an employee and it is not necessary to complete the ICON forms. Your Human Resources Advisor can provide further guidance on how to proceed.
  2. If the Service Types list does not indicate that the worker must be engaged as an employee and you would like to engage the worker as an independent contractor, access the ICON forms (the Worker ICON and the Master ICON).
    1. Send the Worker ICON Questionnaire (electronically) to the worker to complete the questionnaire.
    2. Obtain the completed Worker ICON (in Excel format) from the worker.
    3. Complete the University section (questions 21 through 38) on the Master ICON and input the worker’s responses from the Worker ICON into the Master ICON.
    4. Review the answers in the fully completed Master ICON for reasonableness, consistency, and completeness to ensure the responses accurately reflect the Department’s understanding of the work arrangement.
    5. When the Master ICON is complete, send it in Excel format to for review. 
  3. The ICON Team will advise the Department with respect to their determination on a particular worker via email. 
    • If the worker is an individual, the ICON Team will advise you whether the worker is an independent contractor. 
    • If the worker is a corporation, the ICON Team will advise you whether it is appropriate to engage the corporation (who will be an independent contractor) or whether the specified worker of the corporation should be engaged as an employee of the University.
    • If a worker is determined to be an independent contractor, the ICON Team will also provide an ICON number for the piece of work being done that must appear on correspondence (i.e. invoices). 
  4. The ICON Team will acknowledge emails as soon as possible and will endeavor to answer all questions and make a final determination within two (2) weeks of receiving a fully completed Master ICON, depending on the volume and complexity of requests received.  Departments planning to engage workers must leave sufficient lead time to allow Finance to make its determination on the status of a worker.

Post-Determination Actions

If the worker has been determined to be an employee:

If the worker has been determined to be an independent contractor:


  • This process must be completed for each service arrangement.  If the nature of the service changes, a new ICON Questionnaire must be completed and assessed.
  • The ICON Questionnaire is a tool to assist in the determination of employee/contractor status and should in no way be construed as providing tax advice.
  • Judgment should be applied when reviewing the Master ICON.  If additional relevant facts come to light after the Master ICON is completed and/or after a determination has been made, an independent contractor determination may be revised or reconsidered by the University at any time.
  • Where doubt exists as to the validity of the answers provided, or the accuracy of the determination once completed, additional guidance should be sought. Please email