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WSIB Coverage now Mandatory for Canadian Construction Workers

The majority of workers within the construction field across Ontario are now required to register under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB). The change came into effect on January 1, 2013 and now means that all independent contractors, small businesses workers and those working in executive offices within the construction field in Canada are now required to begin paying WSIB premiums to attain protective coverage.
The change within the Ontario government’s management of construction workplace insurance is set to affect over 90,000 estimated contractors that are currently working across Canada, who were previously exempt from WSIB coverage requirements.
Those behind the recently enacted WSIB policy say that it’s only fair that the majority of workers put payments into the WSIB’s coverage fund as all injured workers would receive WSIB payouts, regardless of whether they actually paid into the system in the first place. While many companies are against paying into the system because they say they will not see any benefit from it, because if they report problems to the WSIB, their premiums will rise as a result.
“Before, we always had WSIB for employees, now it’s for the proprietors. If you’ve got a claim to the WSIB, there will be a surcharge or a higher rate. No proprietor will make a claim against his own company … They will pay (the premium) for nothing at all.”

Juliette Forgues, Controller at Les Fondations Brisson Inc. in Casselman.
It’s an issue that has stoked immense controversy within the province as many construction workers in Ontario are now protesting the new mandatory legislation. The WSIB has said that the new laws will help improve health and safety levels in the construction sector and ensure that everyone is paying their fair share into the system. Many construction organizations will continue to fight back against the ruling.
This is clearly an evolving issue that will be examined on an on-going basis. What is clear is that workplace safety is becoming a key focus for government regulators as we move forward into 2013. While the methods to protect workers might be subject to scrutiny, the question of who should bear the cost of those methods is up for debate. The focus on safety as a whole can only be a positive sign for Canadians.

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