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WSIB and Independent Operators

During a recent Webinar titled Contractor Health and Safety Checklist for Property Managers that CPL conducted through the ACMO Continuing Education Program, there were many questions regarding WSIB coverage and Independent Operators. Attendees to the webinar asked about single person contractors and their status regarding WSIB.

Prior to the start of a construction project the Property Manager must have a WSIB Clearance Certificate from the Contractor or a letter from the WSIB indicating that the Contractor has been designated as an Independent Operator. The Workplace Safety Insurance Act defines an Independent Operator as a “person who carries on an industry set out in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the Act and who does not employ any workers for that purpose”. Independent Operator status is not a self-determination made by the Contractor or the Property Manager. A Contractor must first register with the WSIB and fill out a general and site-specific questionnaire that based on the answers given in the questionnaire the WSIB will or will not grant Independent Operator status. As a Property Manager you need to be aware that without proof of Independent Operator status, the Ministry of Labour could classify the Contractor as a worker, thereby making the Condominium Corporation liable for all WSIB premiums covering the Contractor.

Recently the Government of Ontario amended the Workplace Safety Act making WSIB coverage mandatory for independent operators, sole proprietors who work in the construction industry. Beginning January 1 2013 all independent operators, executive officers and partners in a partnership working in construction who have no workers will need to have WSIB coverage, with no exceptions.

For more information on the WSIB and Independent Operators, please visit the following links:

WSIB – Independent Operators and Workers fact sheet

Schedule 1 & 2 Workplace Safety Insurance Act

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