How It Protects You
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board protects you by ensuring you’re not held accountable if a contractor is hurt on your property. Without it you could potentially be sued by the worker if he is injured because of a hazard in your home. For example, if a contractor is carrying heavy equipment and trips on some toys your child leaves on the ground, WSIB would compensate all medical expenses and time lost at work that the contractor is entitled to. Without this coverage, you may be paying those bills out of your own pocket.
Note: For the purpose of this article, "contractor" and "installer" will be used interchangeably.
Who Does It Cover?
Technically, WSIB will compensate any installer whether or not the company is registered with them. There are two differences between a company that is registered and one that is not: If an installer is injured and his company does not have WSIB, then they will provide coverage for the installer – but the company the installer works for will receive strict penalties for failing to register.
If an installer is injured and his company is registered with the board, then they will provide coverage accordingly and act the same way your car insurance would if you got in a car accident. The company’s premium for WSIB might go slightly up, but they won’t face any strict fines.
In either case, as a homeowner, you don’t have to worry because you are covered.
Who Does It Not Cover
This is where, as a homeowner, you want to tread with caution. The board will cover contractors who should be covered, but not all contractors are entitled or enforced to pay for the coverage.
It’s these outliers that put your company at risk. So, who are these anomalies and how can you identify them?
In order to determine that, you can refer to websites to discover who is exempt.
In a nutshell, the criteria for who isn’t covered is as follows:
- A contractor/installer that works on residential only
- A contractor that works directly with the customer and not through a general contractor
- A contractor that is not an employee of his company – otherwise known as a “one-man company”
Though it may seem like every installer would fall under at least one of these criterion to qualify, you would be surprised by the large number of people who don’t qualify.
Many employees that leave the company they work for and start their own company often spend the first few years doing all of the installation themselves.
If your installer offers to install the furnace “outside his company” or, in other words, performs the installation as a side job, he is forfeiting his rights to WSIB and putting you at risk.
These are the two common scenarios where homeowners accept installations without realizing that they're giving away their rights. The key takeaway here is that: as long as you stay away from these two scenarios, you shouldn’t have to worry about coverage. Dealing with a company where you know the employees are installing the equipment, or you know they do commercial work, guarantees that this fear will never have to cross your mind. There’s a lot of protection when working with established and reputable contractors. Saving a few hundred dollars and taking on the risk of working with someone without adequate coverage is never wise decision.
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