Freelance work: late payments and financial insecurity

Late payments on online platforms and mobile apps are causing great frustration among freelance workers, according to a recent study by Payments Canada. This survey shows that more than half of respondents express dissatisfaction with the problems associated with their remuneration.


The freelance economy is now a mainstay of employment for more than one in ten (12%) Canadian workers, of whom 21% rely exclusively on this mode of work for their main income, and 65% use it as a complement to other sources of income. This is “one-off work, carried out at more or less regular intervals according to the needs of the employer”, according to the definition of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF).

Online platforms and mobile apps such as Clickworker, Crowdsource, Fiverr, Uber, TaskRabbit, and Etsy are used to find temporary jobs. According to the Payments Canada study, 51% of freelance workers who do business with these platforms report recurring late payments. This situation has a direct impact on their financial stability and their ability to manage their daily expenses.

Other issues are identified, including the lack of transparency in compensation calculation methods and difficulties in resolving payment issues with service providers. Freelance workers complain of a lack of support and communication from the platforms.

Respondents also face a significant gap between their payment preferences and what is offered to them.  Although electronic transfers are preferred by 48%, one third of respondents are currently paid via PayPal, while another third are paid in cash.

Towards tighter regulation

The study highlights the need for greater regulation of remuneration practices in the freelance economy, and for protective measures against unjustified late payment. For their part, respondents are calling for stricter rules on payment times and more effective problem-solving mechanisms. 

To address these concerns, Payments Canada, responsible for the country’s payment infrastructure, is calling for collaboration between online platforms, governments and regulators. The aim is to establish fair and transparent payment standards for freelance workers, in order to improve their remuneration and reduce payment delays.

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