This webinar explains the process and timelines for responding to a Section 50, unlawful reprisal charge, and the OEA services available to help employers facing such a charge.
Please Click Here to view the webinar.
This webinar outlines the legislative modifications that have changed the definition and handling of mental stress claims, and how mental stress entitlement, both traumatic and chronic, is determined by the WSIB.
Please Click Here to view the webinar
Overview of the workplace safety and insurance system
Workplace safety and insurance is a no-fault insurance system for work-related injuries and diseases that is governed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA).
Who needs to register with the WSIB
If your business is providing construction services and you hire workers, including family members, or apprentices for your business you must register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 10 days of hiring your first worker. Likewise, if you acquire any or all of an existing construction business with employees, you must register with the WSIB within 10 days.
As of January 1, 2013, independent operators (IOs), sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership, and some executive officers who work in construction are also required to register and have coverage with the WSIB, and are deemed “workers” under the WSIA for this purpose. Private insurance is not an acceptable substitute. Where there are no other workers, the sole proprietors, partners, or corporations those individuals work for, or carry on business under, are deemed “employers” under the WSIA. In some cases, an individual will therefore be considered to be both an employer and a worker for the purposes of the WSIA.
Exempt from mandatory coverage are,
- home renovators who work exclusively in home renovation and are contracted directly by either the person occupying the residence or by a family member of that individual, and
- one executive officer or partner in a business, as long as that individual does not perform any construction work on any building site.
The latter exemption does not apply to executive officers of corporations that have only one executive officer and no employees. Individuals who operate their business on their own – either as sole proprietors who have no workers or as single officer corporations – must submit a status declaration confirming their status as an IO.
Your obligations regarding compulsory coverage and clearance certificates are set out in OPM Doc. Nos. 12-01-06, 14-02-04, 14-02-08, 14-02-19, and 22-01-10. All of these policies are available on the WSIB’s website. The WSIB has also posted two Administrative Practice Documents related to expanded compulsory coverage in construction on its website. These documents, which are supplementary to the actual WSIB policies, offer additional information and practical examples to further explain the application of the new law and policies. For more information, please refer to the WSIB’s needwsibcoverage.ca website.
Precautions when acquiring an existing business
If you acquire an existing business you will inherit the seller’s accident history and financial obligations, including any money owed to the WSIB. To protect yourself, you should get a purchase certificate from the WSIB. A purchase certificate is a document the WSIB will issue if the original employer’s account is in good standing, on the date the business is sold.
If a purchase certificate is issued, the WSIB will not hold the purchaser liable for any amounts charged to the original owner’s account, up to the date the business changed hands.
For audit purposes, purchasers must keep a copy of any purchase certificate received. Both the purchaser and the vendor are required to keep a copy of any purchase certificate issued directly to them by the WSIB.
Identifying Independent Operators (IOs)
People who work under contracts for service and do not employ any workers, are considered IOs. An IO agrees to do specific work in return for payment. The payer does not necessarily control the way in which the work is done, or the times and places it is done.
How to ensure an IO you hire is not treated as a worker by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
You must follow WSIB procedure. If you don’t, the WSIB may deem the IO to be your worker, and require that premiums be paid on the labour portion of the contract with the IO.
The WSIB has an industry-specific questionnaire for the construction industry which you can download from the Employer Forms section of the WSIB’s website.
Both the principal and the IO must complete and sign the questionnaire, and submit it to the WSIB. WSIB decision-makers review the questionnaire and any other information that is relevant to the terms and conditions for service, i.e., invoices, contracts, purchase orders, business cards, etc. When all of the criteria considered together indicate the person has a separate business that is not integrated into the employer’s business, the WSIB considers that person to be an IO. If, however, the WSIB decides the person does not have a lot of independence in doing the work and that his/her decisions have an insignificant effect on his/her opportunity to earn a profit or suffer a loss, it considers that person to be a worker. The questionnaire is necessary even if the IO is incorporated.
How to protect your business from WSIB IO charges
You should fill out and submit a questionnaire if you are planning to hire an IO, before the IO does any contract work for you. If the WSIB concludes the person is a worker, you will need to pay premiums to the WSIB for that worker’s wages and comply with all other WSIB policies. If the person is an IO, you need to take action to protect yourself and your business from financial risk.
Ask the IO if he/she has purchased optional insurance from the WSIB. If the answer is “yes”, get a clearance from the WSIB that confirms the IO is registered with the WSIB and has met all payment and reporting obligations. It waives the WSIB’s right to hold the principal responsible for any premiums charged to the IO’s WSIB account during the time the clearance is valid. An IO (or his/her dependants) who has WSIB coverage also cannot sue you as a result of a workplace injury, disease or death.
The WSIB’s eClearance program is an online service available through the WSIB’s website that allows contractors to obtain specific principal-contractor clearances, and allows employers to easily check the validity of a potential contractor’s clearance and manage its list of contractors. A clearance is valid for up to 90 days, with four “predictable renewal dates” – February 20th, May 20th, August 20th, and November 20th. All clearances expire on those four dates each year.
Individuals who do not wish to use the electronic system have the option of calling the WSIB’s Clearance Department at 416-344-1012 / 1-800-387-8638 to request clearances over the phone, or faxing their request to 416-344-3410 / 1-877-849-4882.
Keep proof of all clearances during the WSIB audit period, which is the current year plus two years.