On November 27, 2008, Bill 119, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2008, received Royal Assent. The Act makes workers’ compensation coverage mandatory for independent operators, sole proprietors, partners and executive officers of corporations working in the construction industry.
Members of the construction industry will be required to register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and contractors will be required to obtain a clearance certificate stating that any independent operators working for them are registered with the Board and have complied with their own obligations under the Act. In addition, a contractor who directly retains a member of the industry to perform construction work may be liable to pay premiums in respect of that worker. However, the Act does create an exemption for members of the industry who only do home renovation work directly for homeowners.
In addition to the above requirements, the Act may also impose additional responsibilities on employers in the industry. The Act empowers the WSIB to create a system to identify all construction workers which, if established, may require employers to provide detailed information to the Board, including the names of workers and information about their earnings.
While the Act is not expected to come into effect until 2012, employers are invited to contact the lawyers at Bird Richard to discuss whether and to what extent these changes will affect their operations.