The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”), which requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees, has historically not applied to independent operators in the construction industry. This is about to change.
An “independent operator” is a person who carries on an industry set out in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the WSIA but does not employ workers for that purpose. At the moment, workers’ compensation coverage is optional for individuals meeting this definition.
Effective January 1, 2013, amendments to the WSIA will require several new classes of individuals working in the construction industry to register for workers’ compensation coverage: independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership, as well as some executive officers.
However, the changes do not apply to independent operators who are not engaged in construction or home renovators who contract directly with the person occupying the residence and work exclusively in home renovation. Further, eligible businesses may select an individual for exemption who does not perform any construction work on the building site (including on-site supervision).
Once registered, Independent Operators and members of the above noted classes will be required to pay WSIB premiums in order to be in compliance with the WSIA.
If you have any questions about these new changes, or any other questions related to workers’ compensation in Ontario, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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