Get a clearance certificate
Employers who contract with other companies to provide services such as janitorial or security will 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.
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. While a clearance does not protect a principal from workplace injury-/illness-/death-related lawsuits, 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.
The WSIB may make an adjustment to an employer’s account if, following an audit of a principal, the WSIB discovers that the principal failed to get a clearance certificate for a contractor or a subcontractor. In such a case, the principal may be liable for some or all of the subcontractor’s payment obligations to the WSIB. You may deduct from money payable to the contractor the amount for which the contractor is liable.
A clearance is mandatory if you hire a construction contractor or IO
Starting January 1, 2013, 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 non-construction principal/employer who hires a construction contractor or IO must get a clearance certificate before allowing the contractor/subcontractor to do any work. 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.
Using the WSIB’s eClearance program
The WSIB’s eClearance program is an online service. It allows contractors to obtain specific principal-contractor clearances, and it 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.
An employer must keep copies of all clearance certificates for at least three years.