If you work in construction, the rules for who must have WSIB coverage have changed.
Do you run a construction business?
No matter what size – or if you have workers or not -- find out what has changed and how to meet the legal requirements.
What do you mean 'construction'?
Did you receive a Premium Remittance and need help understanding how to calculate and report your insurable earnings?
Check out our FAQS for information and links to examples in our Administrative Practice Document on Insurable Earnings and our quick and easy Online Calculator
Want to know more about Mandatory Coverage in the Construction Industry?
We will be holding an information session in your area soon, where a member of the WSIB team will be available to answer any questions you may have.
We will deliver a presentation and then open the floor for questions. Our team will also be available afterwards to answer any additional questions.
Send us an email at email@example.com and let us know if you would like to attend a session. Please include your name and contact info for confirmation.
If you would like to speak to a WSIB representative concerning Mandatory Coverage, please call us Monday to Friday between 7:30am and 5:00pm at:
Toronto: 416-344-1000 or Toll Free: 1-800-387-0750.
Who must have WSIB coverage starting January 1, 2013?
Starting January 1, 2013, nearly everyone who works in the construction industry must have WSIB coverage. The law already requires employers to cover their workers. Coverage will extend to most of the following business owners in the construction industry:
If you are any of these you must have WSIB coverage unless you qualify for an exemption.
What happens if a firm has more than one classification rate?
When a firm is multi-rated (has more than one business activity), it is more complex to determine who requires coverage, and how to report earnings. We have to consider more factors when a firm performs construction and non-construction activities. Some of these factors are:
- size of payroll
- ability to segregate payroll across the multiple business activities
- if there is contracting out of construction activities, etc.
Other factors may apply depending on the specific firm.
Firms with more than one classification unit (CU) need to identify insurable earnings that are considered ‘direct’ or ‘common.’ This helps calculate their total insurable earnings amount. You can find an example of how to identify and allocate these earnings, and how to do a basic calculation under More Than One Classification Unit Assigned in the Administrative Practice Document for Insurable Earnings.
Two exemptions from mandatory coverage
What about optional insurance?
If mandatory coverage is required, you will have to report and pay premiums on your actual earnings and are no longer eligible for optional insurance.
Home renovators who work exclusively in home renovation and:
- Work directly for the occupant or a member of their family
- Are paid directly by the occupant or a member of their family
If you are an employer with workers and meet the two exemption criteria listed above, you must have WSIB coverage for your workers, but as an owner, you are not required to have coverage for yourself. You can apply for optional insurance coverage with WSIB.
One executive officer or partner
This applies to:
- corporations and partnerships with workers
- corporations without workers but with multiple executive officers
- partnerships without workers
The employer may select one executive officer or partner to apply for an exemption. To qualify, the individual must not perform any construction work (periodic site visits are permitted). Only one person per employer can be exempt.
Details about the exemption for one executive officer or partner:
- Exemptions are not automatic. To receive the exemption, the partner or executive officer will have to complete the following request form:
Partner or Executive Officer in Construction - Exemption from Coverage (110.9kb, PDF)
- Independent operators and sole proprietors (with workers) do not qualify for this exemption
For more details, see Policy 12-01-06, Expanded Compulsory Coverage in Construction.
Premium rate for executive officers and partners who are not exempt
All non-exempt executive officers or partners may qualify for a separate premium rate, rate group 755 Non-exempt Partners and Executive officers in construction. The separate rate group is not automatic. The corporation or partnership will have to complete the following request form:
Request for Rate Group 755, Non-Exempt Partners and Executive Officers in Construction (84.8kb, PDF)
For more details, see Policy 12-01-06, under Registering and reporting obligations.
Exemption means no coverage
A person who is exempt from coverage is not entitled to any benefits under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act (WSIA) in the event of a work-related injury or occupational disease. Also, you do not pay premiums for the person who is exempt.
Who is an independent operator?
In the construction industry, the WSIB considers an independent operator to be either of the following:
- an individual who
- does not employ any workers, and
- reports as self-employed to a government agency (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency), and
- is retained as a contractor or subcontractor by more than one person during an eighteen (18) month period.
- an individual who is an executive officer of a corporation that,
- does not employ any workers other than the individual, and
- is retained as a contractor or subcontractor by more than one person during an eighteen (18) month period.
Who is a sole proprietor?
Exists when an employer carries on business alone, without other people except as workers. The sole proprietor is the individual in law responsible for the liabilities of the sole proprietorship.
Who is a partner?
Exists when two or more persons or employers carry on business together. A partnership is not a legal entity separate from its partners. The partnership is the person in law that is responsible for the liabilities of the partnership.
Who is an executive officer?
The WSIB considers an Executive Officer to be part of a select group of individuals who control the direction of the entire organization or key functions of the organization (e.g. Operations, Finance) rather than just a department or branch.
Title alone (such as President or Vice-President) does not necessarily make an individual an executive officer, rather that person must be appointed or empowered to act as an officer of the organization.
The WSIB reserves the right to determine who is an Executive Officer by reviewing the individual's roles, responsibilities and authority within the organization.
For more details on executive officer status, see Administrative Practice Document Expanded Compulsory Coverage
Clearances are key
No coverage means no clearance. No clearance means no work.
It’s just that simple.
What is a WSIB clearance?
A clearance confirms a contractor or subcontractor is registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and has their account(s) in good standing. For an account to be in good standing, the contractor must meet these requirements:
- has an open account with the WSIB
- is classified in the appropriate classification unit(s)
- has reported to the WSIB all required premium amounts
- has paid all premiums and other amounts owing
What is a clearance used for?
A clearance relieves a business (or principal) that retains a contractor of the liability for the contractor’s WSIB insurance premiums owing in connection with the work or service being performed.
Who has to have clearances?
Non-construction firms and clearances
How do I get a clearance?
- Register for coverage online using eRegistration
- Sign up to use our ePremium service to report your earnings and determine your premium amount, then link to your bank's site from ours to pay your premiums online (More payment options coming soon)
- When your WSIB account is in good standing, you can use eClearance to manage your clearance needs
Does a contractor/subcontractor need a clearance to do home renovation work?
No. When a contractor/subcontractor does home renovation work for an occupant or a member of their family and is paid by them, they do not require a clearance. Some exemptions apply.
What if I do not get a clearance?
You could miss out on work. Both the principal and the contractor/subcontractor have obligations for clearances starting January 1, 2013(some exemptions apply).
- Principals must get a clearance before contractors/subcontractors can begin any construction work
- Contractors/subcontractors must have WSIB coverage, report and pay their premiums on time so they are eligible for a clearance. If you do not have a clearance, the principal may refuse you entry to the jobsite until you have one
In future, failure to have a valid clearance may mean fines.
Do construction clearance requirements apply to those not in construction?
Yes. Principals (e.g. companies, organizations, or individuals) that hire contractors to do construction work must get a clearance. And, the clearance must be in place before any work begins.
For example, if a manufacturing firm hires a construction company to build an extension on the plant, they both have clearance obligations. The principal (in this case the manufacturing firm) must ensure a clearance is in place before any work begins. The contractor (in this case the construction firm) must ensure they are registered with the WSIB and their account is in good standing.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes. This requirement does not apply when an occupant or a member of the occupant’s family hires a contractor or subcontractor to do home repairs or renovations.
Principals/general contractors must have clearances for all contractors/subcontractors.
If you hire a contractor or subcontractor to do construction work, we consider you the principal. As a principal, as of January 1, 2013, you must get a clearance from contractors/subcontractors before any construction work can begin. It is the law. When there is a valid clearance, the principal or general contractor is not liable for any unpaid premiums (or other amounts) owed by the contractor or subcontractor based on the labour portion of the contract between them.
In the construction industry, independent operator letters and the construction questionnaire no longer apply.
Contractors/subcontractors cannot begin construction work without a valid clearance.
If you are a contractor/subcontractor, to be eligible for a clearance, you must maintain an account in good standing with the WSIB. This means reporting and paying your premiums on time.
As of January 1, 2013 you cannot perform any construction work for a principal or contractor without a valid clearance in place for the construction work.
Working for you
The WSIB works for you. Whether you're a worker, a large employer or small business owner, we're here to help.
- For employers, we provide no-fault collective liability insurance and access to industry-specific health and safety information.
- For workers, we provide loss of earnings benefits and health care coverage.
Both workers and employers benefit from the WSIB's help when it's time to go back to work after an injury.
What are the benefits of coverage?
We provide a competitive, no-fault insurance product that protects you from costly lawsuits and has predictable rates, tax-deductible premiums and reliable benefits.
How is WSIB coverage different from private disability insurance?
Benefits paid by the WSIB can be more comprehensive and cover a broader range of services than those included in most private insurance policies. Examples
What if I do not register for coverage?
If you meet the rules for coverage, it's the law you MUST register. If you do not register you will not be eligible for a clearance and you could miss work.
And, in future, failure to get/provide a clearance may mean costly fines.
What will this coverage cost?
The cost of coverage depends on earnings and business activity. Details and worksheets to help you calculate the cost of your premiums are available. For more information, see Policy 14-02-18 (18.8kb, PDF), Insurable Earnings in Construction.
I have private coverage. Do I still need WSIB coverage?
Yes, unless you meet the exemption criteria all workers and business owners working in or carrying on a business in construction must have WSIB coverage. Private coverage does not replace the legal requirement for WSIB coverage.
- No-fault insurance to protect you from costly lawsuits
- WSIB benefits regardless of your size, risk or industry
- WSIB benefits for you and your workers replace lost earnings, cover health care costs, and helps them get back on the job safely
- Tax deductions for your premiums - not affected by HST
- Low administration costs for your premiums compared to other provincial workers compensation boards and private insurers
Value for your premium dollars
- 14 regional offices across Ontario with local business expertise
- Health and Safety Association industry support, training and education
- Multilingual and community outreach programs
- Secure eServices so you can do business with us quickly, easily, and when it is convenient for you, with new eServices coming
- 4 Health and Safety Associations have training programs, products and services for your industry and business
- Office of the Employer Adviser has advice and information for employers
- Return to work assistance so workers get back on the job and recover sooner and your business can return to full productivity
More than just insurance – we focus on customer service
We not only want the best for you, we want your experience with us to be great. Our coverage gives you, as principal, contractor and employer more than just insurance.
- 24/7 access through online eServices
- A dedicated Employer Service Center ready to take your call
- Access to health and safety professionals to help you work more safely and avoid injury, illness and fatalities
Clear, simple, no nonsense eServices
We know you don't have a lot of time to fuss with paperwork. So, we developed new online tools that allow you to make your WSIB transactions when it is convenient for you. Bonus for the environment. Online means greener, as we save paper and trees.
Check out our growing suite of eServices to sign up to do ALL your WSIB business online.
- WSIB pays up to 85% net wage loss
- Benefits include Loss of Retirement Income paid to injured workers from age 65
- Special allowances paid to severely impaired workers including Independent Living Allowance
- Work reintegration and retraining services if needed
- All necessary and appropriate health care costs are covered
- Survivor benefits can include lump sum and monthly awards for spouses and dependent children and all reasonable expenses paid for funeral and burial services
Who we are
The WSIB administers Ontario’s no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers. As part of this system, we provide disability benefits, monitor the quality of health care and assist in early, safe return to work for workers injured on the job or who contract an occupational disease. We are entirely funded by employer premiums.
Changes for the construction industry
The construction industry is essential to Ontario’s economy. So is the safety of its workforce. With that in mind, the Ontario government has expanded mandatory coverage in the construction industry to help to level the playing field. Underground economy practices in construction threaten health and safety and undermine the workers’ compensation system. It is important to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.
More questions? We're here to help.
Call the WSIB
Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Toronto: 416-344-1000 or Toll Free: 1-800-387-0750.
Choose your language, then select option "2" to connect with the Employer Service Centre.
Or send us an email.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Head Office:
200 Front Street West Toronto ON M5V 3J1
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Mandatory WSIB coverage in the construction industry is coming January 1st. Learn more at BeregisteredBeready.ca.
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Proteção obrigatória do WSIB na indústria da construção entra em vigor no dia 1 de Janeiro. Para aprender mais, visite: Be registered. Be ready.ca
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