New WSIB Insurance Requirements in Construction

Starting January  1, 2013, WSIB rules regarding the construction industry have changed.  WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) provides insurance coverage for workers who are injured on the job.

Insurance coverage in the construction industry has always been mandatory, with the exception of executive officers (ie: company owners) who did not have to have insurance coverage.  Starting this year, anyone who is working or supervising on a construction jobsite is required to have WSIB coverage.

The exception is the company owner who does not have employees, and works directly for the homeowner.  For example, a handyman who is coming in to do minor repairs in a house.

What does this mean for homeowners?

Homeowners should check to make sure a contractor has WSIB insurance, for 3 reasons:

  1. A worker collecting WSIB benefits cannot sue their employer or the homeowner.  This offers substantial protection to a homeowner in the event of a workplace accident.
  2. A contractor caught working without insurance may be removed from the jobsite, or may disappear to avoid getting caught.  This will leave the homeowner with an incomplete renovation project, and having to search for a new contractor to finish the job.
  3. A contractor with valid WSIB insurance is an indication the contractor is running their  business properly.  If they are doing this properly, chances are good that they are diligent about how they perform their renovation work.  If they aren’t familiar with insurance requirements, or don’t care to comply with the law, they may be equally sloppy when it comes to their construction work.

How can I check if a contractor has WSIB insurance?

Ask the contractor to provide you with their WSIB number.  Even if they don’t, you can still search by business name, or by phone number.

Follow this link to be taken directly to the WSIB website, where you can conduct your search.

Also make sure your contractor has general liability insurance, and make sure your homeowner’s policy covers you during your renovation (some may not).  And update your policy after the work is complete to reflect any additional value that has been added to your home.  Read more about insurance during your renovations here.