Contracting Out

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Get a clearance certificate
A Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) clearance certificate removes from the principal any liability for the payment of WSIB premiums for a contractor or subcontractor for the duration of the construction contract. Starting January 1, 2013, Independent Operator (IO) questionnaires in the construction industry no longer apply. Construction IOs are required to have WSIB coverage, and to report and pay their WSIB premiums on time, in order to be eligible to receive a clearance certificate. A principal who directly retains a contractor, sub-contractor, or IO must get a clearance certificate from each IO, and ensure the individual is in good standing with the WSIB, before allowing a contractor / subcontractor to do any work.

This also applies to those who award construction contracts. Failure to do so is an offence, and could expose the principal to financial risk for the IO’s non-payment/non-compliance. If a clearance certificate expires, or is revoked, the work must stop, and you must receive a new clearance certificate before allowing the work to resume. It is an offence for the subcontractor to continue construction work, and it is an offence for the principal to allow construction work to continue, without a valid clearance certificate.

Employers who contract with other companies to provide services such as janitorial or security will continue to be held responsible for the injury costs of the other company’s injured workers for the duration of the contract if the other company is unregistered or in default with the WSIB. The WSIB may also hold employers responsible for any unpaid premiums owed by the contractor on wages paid to the contractor’s workers for the duration of the contract. The only way to ensure this will not occur is to require a clearance from contractors. You may deduct from money payable to the contractor the amount for which the contractor is liable.

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.

If you have questions about the eClearance system, call 416-344-4122 or 1-888-243-1569 to speak with a WSIB representative. 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.

An employer must keep all clearances for at least three years, and will be asked to provide them to the WSIB if an audit takes place.