Local 793 members who are independent operators must now have coverage from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

As of Jan. 1, 2013, independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership and some executive officers who work in the Ontario construction industry need WSIB coverage.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, an independent operator who does not have a valid clearance can be prosecuted under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) 1997. The maximum fine for a conviction of an offence under the WSIA is $100,000.

The change affects an estimated 90,000 independent operators.

Companies that hire independent operators as subcontractors are also required to get clearance certificates from each of them.

The cost of coverage depends on earnings and business activity.

When a business is registered with the WSIB, it becomes insured against occupational injury and illness.

The WSIB considers you an independent operator if you:

Are an individual who:

  • does not employ workers, and
  • works as a contractor or subcontractor for more than one person during an 18-month period, and
  • reports as self-employed to a government agency (eg. Canada Revenue Agency).

You also require coverage if you are an executive officer of a corporation that:

  • does not employ any workers other than the individual, and
  • works as a contractor or subcontractor for more than one person during an 18-month period.

Clearances are important because it proves the operator is properly covered by the WSIB.

There are some exemptions to the rule. For example, some executive officers in corporations are still exempt. And, occupants of private residences (and their family members) who hire contractors to do home renovation work are not required to get a clearance.

The WSIB is an independent trust agency that administers compensation and no-fault insurance for Ontario workplaces. The agency provides wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and help getting back to work.

To find out more, click here. Independent operators can also call the WSIB Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 416-344-1000 or 1-800-387-0750.

Click here if you want to obtain a clearance or check on the status of a clearance.