WSIB changes

WSIB - Mandatory Coverage in Construction By: Brenda Carkner

The Ontario government has recently expanded the requirements for WSIB coverage in the construction sector. As a result, construction company executives will have to pay higher WSIB premiums on earnings which were not previously insurable. As well, stronger requirements for certification of subcontracted and contracted businesses were implemented which will delay the start time of contracted work if the contractor is not properly certified. The requirement for coverage for the construction industry became effective on January 1, 2013 and is mandatory for people who carry on business in construction as independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in partnerships, and executive officers in corporations.

Do I need to register?

All businesses in the construction industry, including those that already have private insurance, are required to register and pay premiums for WSIB coverage. This aligns with the purpose of the mandatory coverage as stated by the Ontario government: to “improve health and safety, level the playing field, and help combat the underground economy in the construction sector”.  

When should I register?

Mandatory registration became effective January 1, 2013 so existing businesses that are not registered will be required to do so immediately.  New entrants in the constructions sector will have to register with WSIB within ten days of hiring their first worker or contractor (including the operator). If are required to register, you should do so as soon as possible by either registering online through the WSIB’s website or with the assistance of the staff at Wilkinson & Co.

What happens if I hire contractors or subcontractors?

People who hire contractors or subcontractors must require a WSIB certificate before any construction work can begin to ensure that the subtracted company is insured and in good standing. This certificate must be in effect until contractor or subcontractor has completed their work.

How much will I have to pay?

The premium that a business must pay is determined based on earnings and business activities (such as electrical, plumbing, etc). Rates for businesses under different categories can be accessed through the WSIB’s website.  Note that other officers that do not perform construction tasks may qualify for a new lower premium rate but cannot be completely exempt from the new policy.

Read: Insurable earnings and premium estimator for the construction industry"

Are there any exemptions to this new mandatory coverage?

There are two basic types of exemptions that may apply to people in the construction industry:

  1. A person with no employees and is exclusively engaged in home renovations performed on a private residence occupied by the person or a relative of the person who directly retains the contractor to complete the work is exempt from WSIB coverage
  2. Partnerships and corporations with more than one executive officer can elect one partner or executive officer to be exempt from the new coverage. This person must not perform any construction work but may be permitted to visit construction sites on an occasional basis. Note that independent operators and sole proprietors with workers do not qualify for this second exemption.

Will this exemption be automatically applied?

A form must be filled out in order to request a WSIB exemption and can be accessed through the WSIB’s website.

Helpful link:

WSIB - FAQ - Mandatory Coverage in Construction