DP: Contracted Consulting and Professional Services

D: Fiscal Managment

The Board of Education of School District No.39 Vancouver (“The Board”) recognizes, that from time to time, specialized professional services may be required that cannot be provided by Board employees. 

Contracted consulting and professional services are defined as the provision of unique, technical and/or infrequent services or advice by an independent contractor qualified by education, experience and/or technical ability to provide such services. The contractor may not be required to be licensed. In most cases these services are of a specific project nature, and are not a continuing, on-going responsibility of the Board. Contracted consulting and professional services engagements may involve partnerships, corporations, or individuals. 

Examples of consulting and professional services contracts include: accountants, actuaries, appraisers, attorneys, brokerage firms, business consultants, copywriters, engineers, law firms, physicians, public relations professionals, recruiters, researchers, translators, software engineers and web designers. 

This policy does not apply to contracted on-going services (e.g. school bus services, contracted cafeteria services), facilities maintenance or capital construction project contracts. 

Architectural services, engineering services, construction managers and any specialized consultants related to the planning, design and construction of Board facilities are to be acquired consistent with the Board’s Policy on FEB - Selection of Architect. 

Formal approval must be obtained prior to entering into a contract for consulting and professional services as defined in this policy.


This policy applies to all school district contracted consulting and professional services, regardless of the ultimate source of funding.

If a circumstance arises that is not specifically covered in the procedures below, the most conservative course within the "spirit" of this policy must be adopted or the responsible person should consult the Superintendent, the Secretary Treasurer or the Assistant Secretary Treasurer Finance.


The Board is responsible for maintaining appropriate internal controls as part of its accountability.

The authorized approving officers are responsible for ensuring that requests and agreements for consulting and professional services meet the conditions of the Contracted Consulting and Professional Services Policy, there are sufficient funds available to cover the contract value, and are being charged to an appropriate expenditure account. Outlined below are the authorizations required when entering into a professional services agreement.

The Purchasing Department is responsible for developing and maintaining administrative processes relating to procurement of consulting and professional services and ensuring that consulting and professional service agreements are in compliance with the Board’s Contracted Consulting and Professional Services Policy and Procedures.

The Accounting Department is responsible for developing and maintaining administrative processes relating to processing consulting and professional services invoices in a timely manner and ensuring that consulting and professional service agreements and invoices are in compliance with the Board’s Contracted Consulting and Professional Services Policy and Procedures.


All requests for consulting and professional services must be approved by an authorized approving officer as outlined below.


Authorization Required 

Over $25,000

Secretary Treasurer or Superintendent

0 - $25,000

Division Head or Associate Superintendent

All agreements for contracted legal services must also be approved by VSB Legal Counsel.


Purchasing of Consulting and Professional Services  

All purchases done on behalf of the Board must be made in accordance with the Board’s Purchasing Policy. Whenever practicable, consulting and professional services are to be ordered through the Purchasing Department, invoiced to the Board and paid by cheque issued by the Accounting Department. 

Contract Format  

All consulting and professional services agreements must be in writing in a format approved by the VSB Purchasing Department.  The VSB Purchasing department will seek advice from VSB Legal Counsel if required.

Employee or Independent Contractor

An employer/employee relationship exists where a person providing a service is deemed, for Revenue Canada purposes, to be an employee of the Board. In this case, the Board is required by law to provide statutory benefits and make specific source deductions from payments. Please refer to Appendix 1 for more details. 

When an employer/employee relationship exists, standard Board hiring procedures must be followed. The individual will be paid through the payroll system, the payments will be subject to source deductions for income tax, CPP and EI , and will be reported on a T4 slip. 

Generally, the hiring of retired employees as backfill for permanent employees on leave should be treated as temporary employment and not as contracted consulting.

Method of Payment

All invoices for consulting and professional services must be submitted to the Accounting Department for processing and payment. All invoices must be consistent with the authorized Consulting and Professional Services Agreement.


A copy of all approved professional services contracts will be provided to the Secretary Treasurer’s Office and the Purchasing Department.


A report will be provided to the Board with respect to all approved Consulting and Professional Services Agreements which exceed $25,000 in aggregate. 

Appendix 1

Determination of Employment Relationship

Various indices have evolved from court cases over the years as to whether an individual is an employee or self-employed. These indices are often grouped into "tests". For example, one general test is the control test. Others may be described as the integration test, the economic reality test and the specified result test.

While a number of tests have been used by the courts in determining whether or not an individual is an employee, no one test is conclusive. The question can only be settled by examining the whole of the various elements which constitute the relationship between the parties.


In an employer/employee relationship, the employer has the right to control the employee's method of doing the work. This might be compared to the situation (i.e. self-employment) in which the work to be done is controlled but not the manner of doing it. In the former, the employer determines what is to be done and how it is to be done; in the latter, the employer determines what is to be done but not how it is to be done. The degree of control exerted (frequently referred to as the "control test") may be examined in light of the following:

  • the employer's power to select the employee,
  • the extent to which the employee is subject to the supervision of his/her employer,
  • the method and nature of compensation,
  • the employer's right to determine the hours of work,
  • the power to delegate, and
  • the employer's right to dismiss or suspend the employee.


The integration test examines the role of the individual in the Board and if the work done is an integral part of the Board's business, the individual is an employee. If the work done can be severed from the Board’s regular business, that may be an indication that the individual is self-employed.

Economic Reality

The economic reality test examines the opportunity for profit (or loss) and investment in facilities. The absence of chance of profit and risk of loss may indicate an employee relationship (for example, where a fixed salary is paid and there are few expenses not reimbursed by the employer).

Specified Result

If the contract provides for a specific result to occur but does not contemplate the services of any particular individual to accomplish that result, then the relationship may be one of self-employment. If, on the other hand, the contract requires the services of one person to be put at the disposal of another for a fixed or indeterminate time, the relationship may be that of an employee. 

DMT Responsibility: AST-Finance

Adopted Date: 
Tuesday December 21, 2010