What you need to know about WSIB

WSIB and How it Benefits the Client

The Workplace Safety And Insurance Board (or WSIB) in Ontario provide worker's safety is insured while they are on a construction site. The WSIB used to be called the Worker's Compensation Board and is a vital element in the security of the industry... but how does it benefit the client? We took a closer look to find out.

What exactly does the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board?

All employers in the renovation and construction industry in Ontario pay money into a province wide fund that is used to pay for any workers that are injured during the course of their duties. Monetary expenses are covered based on the employer's payroll and their accident rate. If there happens to be an accident and a worker is injured through no fault of their own then they will be reimbursed through this scheme.

If a building or renovation company does not have worker's compensation then they are operating illegally. You should never trust these firms. If there is an accident upon your property while they are working then you will be held financially accountable for any losses that they experience. This can include medical care as well as damages, leaving you liable for a costly sum.

The target of this association is to get workers fit and back into the workplace as soon as possible, while also ensuring their negative experience has not had a lifelong effect wherever possible. It benefits the worker massively on an individual level, since the employer must then make reasonable accommodations to modify their duties if they are no longer able to fully perform them as a result of accident.

Employers do have the right to contest claims but this is fairly rare. An honest company wants its workers back to full health. If you wish to read more about exactly what you should look out for when you are engaging a construction company in terms of legal matters then visit the CBHA website, here.

Who Needs WSIB?

Although on the cover it might seem like the WSIB exists only to protect the rights of workers, it does a lot more than that, too. It protects the new homeowner or person instigating the construction project from being sued for financial losses or medical costs incurred by any worker who has an accident while working on their project. If a firm does not take part in the Worker's Compensation scheme then you may have to foot the bill.

Employers also need the WSIB not only to ensure the safety of their workers, but also to comply with the law. There are some cases where contractors and renovators are exempt from this rule but if this is the case, they should be able to provide you with a letter of exemption. Otherwise steer clear and save yourself future financial heartache.

Who Pays for WSIB?

The employer pays a contribution to the scheme on a monthly or annual basis. They must register or complete an application, should they opt for exemption. Without membership the workplace safety cannot be guaranteed, so if nobody pays for the scheme in the company you are using then you, or an individual worker, could be left unprotected.

You may wish to ask your own insurance or warranty provider if they cover you for certain aspects of the project before you commit to choosing an exempt or un-registered builder. Usually though, the cost will be spread out in installation payments throughout the year and by the company that you hire. When you sign the initial building contract for any work that takes place on custom homes or home renovations in Toronto you should always be sure to ask for proof of the company's WSIB membership.

What are the Benefits of WSIB?

The benefits range from financial protection for the worker, to indemnifying the client from legal action due to workplace accidents on the property and even go as far as to protect an employer's reputation, should a job go south. Everyone involved in the home building, new home or renovation business in Ontario can benefit from WSIB involvement.

The WSIB as an organisation also offers advice, guidance and safety parameters for all agencies to follow to ensure compliance. They have an online platform full of resources employers and workers alike can draw from, and they provide a number of healthcare practitioners throughout the province.  Without such organizations the rights of workers would still be questioned in this modern day and it is thanks to trusts such as Worker's Compensation that has allowed Canada to become world renowned in the health and safety in the workplace field.

How can you get proof of WSIB?

Obtaining proof of WSIB is fairly straight forward. All you need to do is remember to ask for it in meetings with the contractor before the final deal is made. Before the contract is finalized ask your chosen company to provide you with a Letter of Clearance from the WSIB. They should have these in supply in their office and ought to be able to provide you with it. If they make excuses and delay you, or try to tell you that you don't really need this document, look elsewhere.

There are the cases of those companies that are exempt from worker's compensation for various reasons. In this instance you can still ask for proof of exemption. This will usually come in the form of a letter or signed document on WSIB headed notepaper. Again, if the paper is blank, do not sign the contract.

And Lastly...

Drawing up the contract is one of the most important steps you will take in the purchase of any building work. Pay particular attention to small details such as this one to make sure you don't end up caught out and suffering a financial loss. Remember that the presence of WSIB documentation is necessary for legal building work to be carried out in the city... so anyone who denies this or doesn't have it is likely not such a professional builder, after all.