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The Pandemic and the Independent Contractor

Independent contractors have many advantages, however they also accept risks. One of the risks they face is downtime, for whatever reason, because they are not paid. Eagle is currently going through a planning exercise focused on the very real threat of a pandemic and it occurred to me that all businesses need to look at this ... including the independent contractor.


1. We are told that there WILL BE a pandemic in Canada, the question is when.
2. When there is a pandemic workplaces will be shut, and there will be widespread disruption to the economy.

Questions to ask yourself as a one person business ...

1. Can I afford to not be paid for a month? Two months?
2. Can I plan, with my current client to be able to complete some work from home if the office environment is closed?
3. Is my client working on a plan to minimize risks? ... education programs, flu shots, hand washing etc.

If you are concerned about your potential financial situation NOW is the time to do something.

1. Change your lifestyle to allow you to put away some money for a rainy day. Reduce costs, put in more hours now, force yourself to save.
2. Work with your bank to establish a line of credit.
3. Create a budget that will allow you to "weather the storm" of a forced layoff.

We all hope that the flu won't affect us as much as it might, or that it won't happen for a long time ... but the probability is that it will happen sooner rather than later and we all need to be prepared.

Here are some resources that you might want to explore ...

The World Health Organization ... ten things you should know about pandemic influenza.
The Government of Canada Pandemic site.
CBC Fifth Estate Black Dawn docudrama about what it could be like.
A business continuity resource site.