Independent Operators

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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.

Ensure an IO you hire is not treated as a worker by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
If you are planning to hire an IO, both the principal (you) and the IO must complete and sign the appropriate questionnaire, and submit it to the WSIB, before the IO does any contract work for you.  The questionnaire is necessary even if the IO is incorporated.  The WSIB has five industry-specific questionnaires (for trucking, taxis, retail, couriers and logging), and a general questionnaire for individuals working in all other industries.  These questionnaires are in the Employer Forms section of the WSIB’s website.

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.

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.