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Did you know nearly a million Canadians don’t have a bank account? While living without a bank account is possible, it can cause certain financial hurdles including getting a loan, managing your finances and being paid for work. Most Canadians are paid via paycheque or direct deposit, but there’s another method that’s offered by some employers: cash. Jobs that pay cash are a great way for employees without bank accounts to be paid for a variety of jobs, including manual labour positions.

Can You Get Jobs That Pay Cash In Canada?

Not all jobs that pay cash are illegal, many jobs offer cash instead of cheques or direct deposit. This is a completely legal method of being paid and still requires deductions, towards taxes and Employment Insurance.

Best Jobs That Pay Cash In Canada

There are various jobs that pay in cash, many of which include but are not limited to manual labour.

Construction

Construction workers work on construction sites building homes, office buildings or various other forms of infrastructure. Their tasks can include putting up scaffolding, vacating debris, managing heavy machinery and loading or unloading building materials. No post-secondary education is required in this field, but generally, a high school diploma is preferred. 

Cleaning

Cleaners work in homes, offices and other public spaces. The labour included in this job involves vacuuming, mopping, dusting, scrubbing surfaces and appliances, emptying trash cans and more. Post-secondary education is not required, but sometimes a high school diploma and similar experience are preferred. 

Day Labour

A day labourer is hired on a daily basis to conduct labour for specific jobs. This can include construction, agricultural work or other forms of manual labour. You can access day labour through an employment agency.

Temp Agencies

Temp agencies provide temporary work for companies and employers. They help employers find the best candidate possible, which can include workers for jobs that pay cash. You may have a higher chance of getting jobs that pay cash with a temp agency as the positions they’re filling are generally temporary or part-time.

Service Industry

Working in the service industry includes serving, bartending and hosting. It involves having good customer service, taking orders, serving food and drinks, and setting and clearing tables. Employers are often looking for patient candidates, have an attention to detail and have cashier experience. Post-secondary education is not needed for this job. 

Your Rights With Jobs That Pay Cash

Labour laws protect all workers. This means if you legally receive cash payments for your job, you are entitled to the same rights as workers paid through other methods. You are authorized to receive pay slips, minimum wage, public holidays, paid vacation, Employment Insurance and maternity leave.

Pay Stubs 

Even if you’re paid by cash, part of your money will be deducted to go towards taxes, Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension plan. These deductions will be listed on your paystub. Your paystub should also include your total hours worked, your pay rate, overtime worked and public holiday pay.

Tax Forms

Employers should provide you with tax forms at the end of the fiscal year so that you can file your taxes. However, you should still keep all your pay stubs as it’s an important way to maintain a financial record and prepare for tax season.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is the lowest amount that employers can legally pay their employees. Across Canada, the minimum wage varies by the provide you live in and ranges from $13 to $16.77. 

Jobs That Pay In Cash And Your Tax Obligations

Whether you receive your pay via cash, cheque or direct deposit, you have a legal obligation to declare and pay taxes. However, some seek jobs that pay cash so that they can under-declare their income, and as a result, pay less taxes.

While it can be enticing for some not to have deductions taken from their pay, cash payments without deductions for work are illegal. 

If the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) flags you for underreporting your income, you will have to undergo a personal audit, which can result in fines, penalties and possibly jail time. If you are an immigrant without a social insurance number or a valid work permit, getting caught for working under the table could result in deportation.

The Pitfalls Of Working Under The Table Jobs That Pay In Cash

Fines, penalties and prison time isn’t the only risk of working an illegal job that pays in cash. 

  • You can’t access services if you get injured. If you sustain an injury on the job, you can file a claim and receive compensation through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). However, if you work under the table, you won’t be able to access these workers’ rights if your employer is not respecting worker safety, human rights or other employment standards. 
  • You’re hurting the country. Paying taxes is important to support programs and social services for people in Canada. If you avoid paying taxes, you are negatively impacting essential services for all residents of Canada, including yourself.
  • You can’t get EI or CPP. If you lose your job due to layoffs, illness or disability, you won’t have any support. This means you won’t be able to access EI or CPP.

Tips When Working Cash Jobs

When you’re working in a job that pays cash, it’s important to keep records of communication with your employer, pay, hours worked and information about the company: including names, titles, phone numbers, and work vehicle license plate numbers. Maintaining a record of your work, pay, and employer becomes essential when you need to defend your rights, especially in cases where you may have to file a complaint or seek the wages owed to you.

It’s also important to protect your personal information. This includes not sharing your immigration status or providing your full address. 

Bottom Line

Working jobs that pay cash can be completely legal, but it’s important to protect yourself by keeping a record. Working in a job that pays cash also provides all the rights that working in a job that pays by cheque or direct deposit does, so you are entitled to report to the Ministry of Labour if your employer is not respecting your rights. 

FAQs On Jobs That Pay Cash

What happens if you work without a permit SIN number?

If you are working without a Social Insurance Number, work permit or immigration status that provides you the ability to work in Canada, you are still provided labour rights.  This includes safe working conditions, human rights and employment standards – which include overtime pay, regulated hours and receiving minimum wage. If you are denied any of these rights by your employer, you can file a claim at the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour is not supposed to share immigration information outside of their department, so non-status immigrants are able to file claims.

Can I get EI if I’m fired from my cash-paid job? 

Legal jobs that pay cash provide the same rights that jobs that pay via cheque or direct deposit do. This means you are entitled to EI (if you meet the eligibility requirements) if you are fired. However, if you work under-the-table jobs that pay in cash, you won’t be able to access EI if you are fired.

What happens if the CRA finds out I’m working under the table?

If the CRA discovers that you are working under the table and underreporting your income, they will require you to undergo a personal audit. This can result in fines, penalties and possibly jail time. For non-Canadian citizens, this can result in deportation.
Savanna Craig avatar on Loans Canada
Savanna Craig

Savanna Craig is a multi-platform journalist and producer. She hosts and produces Local 514, a Montreal-based web series focused on environmental, social and civic issues. She also writes feature articles, produces podcasts and more.

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