What Is WSIB and Why Should You Care?
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (formerly the Workers' Compensation Board) was established in 1997 by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). It is a workers' compensation insurer for Ontario, Canada headquartered in Toronto. The Worker's Compensation Board, WSIB's predecessor, was formed in 1914 through the passage of the Workmen's Compensation Act. In 1997, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act was passed in Toronto, which resulted in the formation of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) that took over the functions of the previous board.
Under Part II of this Act, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board has a mandate to promote health and safety in workplaces and to reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries and occupational diseases. WSIB reinforces one of the main principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act: the importance of partnerships among the workplace parties in both fostering a commitment to and improving occupational health and safety.
Workplace coverage through the WSIB will cover the cost of most on-the-job injury, sickness, equipment, or property damage. It is the law under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that all construction contractors who fall within these guidelines must carry a valid certification number for all jobs.
On January 1, 2013, the WSIB changed the law regarding construction contractors, including HVAC, and mandated that all individual workers, businesses, or corporations that provide services to commercial, educational, or third party buildings must be insured by the board. This means that an HVAC company must be covered by WSIB's workplace insurance while on the job, otherwise they are in violation of Ontario law and are putting both themselves and their customers at risk. Exemptions for private residential work were also included, however. Learn more about the changes to WSIB legislation here.
What Can Happen Without WSIB
The WSIB regarding construction contractors that was updated on January 1, 2013 includes an exemption. The exemption covers individuals, partnerships, or corporations doing exclusively home renovation work and working directly for the occupant or member of their family and is paid directly by the occupant or member of their family. Evading WSIB by having the homeowner hire the trades does use one of the exemptions to the mandatory rule, but is it worth it to save a few dollars on home renovation while putting the homeowner at serious risk? Based on true life WSIB evasion horror stories, all signs point to no.
If you try to evade WSIB, you could be in for a tragic situation, not to mention serious legal consequences. Think about it: What happens when one of these hired trades gets injured on the homeowner’s job? A homeowner in Richmond Hill, Ontario was fined $20,000 after a worker fell 10.5ft and died. The homeowner pleaded guilty as a constructor for failing to ensure a guardrail system was used, contrary to Section 23(1) (a) of the Act.
It’s clear that project managers are putting homeowners at risk with their evading system. When employing an HVAC contractor to work at your home, it’s in your best interest to ensure he or she has WSIB coverage. If an HVAC contractor is injured while working in your home and they do not have workplace insurance, you are liable for damages. That means you could be stuck paying thousands of dollars in medical bills, equipment, or property damage. If you choose an independent contractor without coverage, you are putting yourself at risk of being liable for injury and damages.
How To Check If Someone Has Coverage
So, you know that you need to make sure the technician you’re hiring to work on your home has WSIB coverage – but how should you check?
If you are hiring a business or contractor to do renovation work on your home, you will need to make sure a valid clearance number is in place before any construction work can begin. All contractors doing this work must be registered. A clearance number proves that the business you have hired is properly covered by the WSIB. This means that you are not liable for any unpaid premiums that the contractor should have paid to the board. Doing non-exempt construction work (any work that isn’t exempt home renovation) without a valid clearance number is an offence under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act 1997 and will be charged under the WSIA. The fine for the conviction of an offence under the WSIA is up to a maximum of $100,000. You could also be liable to pay any unpaid premiums or other fees owed to the WSIB that your contractor should have paid on the work you hired them to do.
If your contractor doesn’t have a clearance number, it’s in your best interest to refuse entry to your home until a valid clearance number is in place.
Accuserv Heating and WSIB
Here at AccuServ, we are compliant with WSIB and follow all of its strict policies and regulations. We take all the necessary precautions to greatly reduce the possibility of an accident. We conduct regular training sessions on how to properly handle tools and safety gear, and how to recognize and deal with a hazardous environment.
If one of our installers happens to be injured, you can have peace of mind that AccuServ's coverage through WSIB will take over all liability – leaving you, the homeowner, risk-free. Of course, we diligently work to prevent our employees from being hurt, but since we comply, you never have to worry about the worst-case scenario.
Accuserv Heating has the province's highest standard of workplace coverage. That means that no matter what job Accuserv performs on your house, you and your family are insured. Accuserv is always up-to-date on its WSIB certification, which means that it’s the safest choice for your HVAC service or installation needs and will ensure that you will never be liable for workplace injury or damages. Your safety, and that of the technician working at your home, is the top priority when heating and cooling work is being done on your property.
To protect you and your family from liability, Accuserv Heating takes the following steps to ensure we always provide our customers with the best possible coverage:
- Accuserv’s certification number is always up-to-date and active and will be provided to every customer.
- Company-wide certification means that every Accuserv technician who comes to your house is covered.
A contractor who is not WSIB certified can put you and your family at legal and financial risk. It’s really not worth it to take that chance, so choose Accuserv Heating for your HVAC needs and rest comfortably knowing that the project has the coverage it requires. We’re not risking it so as to not put you at risk.
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