Magazine for professional home renovators.

Ontario WSIB shakedown: Self-employed contractors mad as hell

Renovation contractors and their subtrades turned out in large numbers for mass protests in front of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Offices in Ottawa and Hamilton, ON, on Feb. 12 to protest the Ontario government’s new WSIB fee structure. As a result of the province’s controversial Bill 119, which went into effect Jan. 1, independent small business operators must now purchase WSIB insurance at rates that could drive them out of business.

Justin Dokter, a 24-year-old self-employed carpenter from the Hamilton area who was one of the main organizers of the protests, told Canadian Contractor that he would have to foist these mandatory new charges on his customers, since paying them himself is not an option. And that, he said, could put him out of work, especially given the cash competitors he has to bid against.

Before Ontario introduced Bill 119, independent contractors still had to be insured, but they could, as Dokter did, choose their own insurer. The mandatory new WSIB premiums range from 1 to 18 per cent of a worker’s insurable earnings. In his own case, “it’s 7 to 15 per cent of our gross income,” Dokter said.

“This (WSIB) costs six to seven times more than my private insurance and it’s an inferior product,” Dokter added. “ And it only covers me if I get hurt on the job.” He said his private insurance covers him no matter where an injury or illness occurs.

Henry de Vries, a local painter who attended the Hamilton protest, said it was the first time he had ever carried a picket sign in his life. He said he would rather have been working but felt he had no choice to but to join a protest because, with the new WSIB rules and fees, his livelihood is now seriously threatened.

“The biggest problem is the rates they’re charging that contractors have to pay,” de Vries said. He said he’d heard of contractors paying “from 6 per cent to 30 per cent.”

“It’s gotten to the point between that and income tax that it is hardly worth going out to work anymore. I hope the government takes a look at WSIB, does an audit on them, like the WSIB did on us last year. (They need) to take a look at how they take care of their funds.

It’s well known that the WSIB has not, at all, “taken care of its funds.” At the end of 2011, the much-criticized agency had an “unfunded liability” (obligations it already has to pay out premiums to claimants) of a staggering $14.2-billion. Some analysts estimate that amount has now risen to $18-billion.

Roger Tickner, a safety professional in the industry, says it’s clear to him that the Ontario government sees independent contractors as a new source of revenue to deal with that money pit. “It’s been created by people that really don’t understand the business as well as they should,” he said.

Husband-and-wife contracting team Martin and Corinne Templeman, MET Services, attended the Hamilton rally and told Canadian Contractor that the new fees were potentially crippling to their business.

“My clients are going to be paying 5 per cent more for my services. And I’ve got to compete against the black market who pay cash,” Martin said. “We need to create awareness that the government is asking small contractors, small business people, to pay for a deficit that they had no part of creating,” Corinne said.

Conservative MPP Randy Hillier is one of the more vocal opponents of the WSIB in the legislature. Since Bill 119 was first introduced in 2009, he has introduced several bills to create exemptions for small business owners. They were all defeated. The lobby against the new WSIB rules has a website at www.fixthewsib.ca.

Posted by
Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
59 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Justin Dokter statement of a precent of gross receipts is not correct -it only applies to the labour part of his invoice –unless he sells no product
    Even that is not 100% correct as its based on his salary/drawing/he takes from his business
    But it’s true it will really hepl the underground cash market

  2. -For my part when I received notice that I needed to include myself on my w.s.i.b. remittance starting in 2013, I immediately contacted all of my sub-trades and informed them that after 42 years in the commercial construction business that I was no longer bidding any more projects and I have begun the process of laying off my staff.
    -As Justin Dokter states above w.s.i.b. coverage is more expensive and covers less than my private coverage.
    -W.s.i.b. needs to de-solve and let the business owners purchase private coverage for themselves and their employees.

  3. I think its great that there is so much interest in the Workers Comp issue. I used to work in the residential market. I really wonder if it is a problem for
    Workers Comp to actually go after all those cash going jobs 1st before going after inocent legitatmate companies.

    The regular businesses are doing there best in these troubled times.
    It’s true that the government only goes after the person they know, rather go after the indentured or the cash for work trades.

    We all need to keep our hats on and not quit.
    Just let your MP know that they better start doing something about the illegetamate undergound economy, rather than start pointing the finger at everyone they already know.

    Construction is the business that keeps all countries running. More legitamate opperators is not the problem it’s the illegitamte one’s.

    Lets all have a level playing field. Or at least try before they go on a hunt to our bank accounts.

    • My thoughts exactly! It kills me to hear about all these business owners who pay their employees cash, they pay no payroll taxes, and no personal taxes while we who play it by the book are being fleeced at every turn. Why cant the government put more effort into catching the crooks instead of taking the easy way by making the legitimate business owners pay even more.

      • I totally agree with your statement, In the past, I operated a business and always had to deal with this “underground” market of cash and dash wannabe contractors. Frustrated with always explaining to potential clientel about the pros and cons of contracting their future projects out to Joe underthetable contracting was a common affaire. WSIB has a viable role in todays workforce, BUT, only if it’s properly managed and competitive with the private sectors, who all have to play with the same set of rules. First job at hand, crack down on illegal contractors, Secondly those dishonest individuals scaming the system with false claims and lastly incorparate a randomly selected panel ,per region, of contractors sitting on a committee on WSIB board…..

      • I’m not sure why our government wants to squash us as we provide much needed jobs. We seem to be an escape goat for all of the financial messes they have created. One thing that I do know is the labour unions are pushing hard to even the playing field. The larger commercial companies may survive all of the imposed regulations and fees but the residential contractors will not. At least not without having to scale back on their labour force. The problems we are faced with is every time they create another hoop for us to jump through the cash contractor becomes more attractive.

        Why are they blind to this? How does this help us become more competitive? All I see is a society of fed up contractors who are struggling to survive. Providing quality work has always allowed my company to sail through the recessions. I don’t feel that way anymore. I’m struggling to find a reason to keep going on with a 30 year old business. I think scaling back and having one or two guys will be my only way to survive if at all.

        I had the good fortune to spend 3 weeks in Florida this year. First vacation in a long time. I earned this by helping my wife’s cousin do his roof down there. It took us 4 days but the relaxation after that was great. What I did see is a state that has its crap together for contractors. We had to take out a permit for the roof and followed by 3 inspections. At first I thought this was a complete waste of time but with all the hurricanes I can see why. What I realized after is this was a great way to give the legitimate companies a fighting chance for survival. Permits are displayed in the window just like our building permits. If you didn’t have one you would be reported by other contractors working in the area. It wouldn’t be snitching as everyone would be on the same playing field so all legitimate contractors would win. For some reason we will report someone stealing from a clothing store but when they steal from our own mouths we turn our heads. Insurance companies would be able to pull the passed permit if needed. I know this doesn’t resolve the issue but maybe it would at least give us a fighting chance. I know there are ways to just pull a permit and say you did it yourself and still pay cash. But a lot of home owners would think twice about paying the fly by night if they had to go to this measure.

        Sorry this is only about roofing but it would work in other trades as well. Maybe I’m way off topic and maybe it is a pipe dream but I’m getting desperate and I need to know I have a future.

        Any comments would be appreciated good or bad.

  4. As a company owner I have a very hard time competing with the cash fly by nighter. With the new WSIB law in effect I have to use less employes,or just do the easy thing and become a fly by nighter, they are making my decision pretty easy

  5. Can or does anybody know what or if the other providences are doing?

    • Robert Koci

      A while ago, we had a round table discussion with contractors from across Canada. When we started talking about WSIB, the guys from the other provinces didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Almost every other province has managed to keep their books balanced and their premiums low.

  6. I use Pencor ins and a Senior Mgr there told me that if Rev Can has deemed you to be independent operator WSIB backs off. I realize this puts you on way more radar than you may want but it seems to be true. The other point is that I did get an Independent Operator status from WSIB and there is no time limit on the form and those firms that I show it to when they are being Audited by WSIB have it accepted.

    • Please contact me 519-421-8237. Im an personal insurance advisor and know the trades are getting screwed. I want to find a way to get people private coverage and Im wondering if you found a way?

  7. I just paid my WCB in British Columbia for myself and my employee. We do refrigeration service and installation and my rate was $2.13 per $100. It is mandatory for workers and me as employer to pay.

    There has been a serious push over the last few years to make sure all residential construction was covered and safe work procedures implemented.

    I looked at some of the proposed rates in Ontario and they were substantially higher to the point of being absurd.

  8. Dererk: To boot the WSIB has already increased the rates as of January 1 2013 and also INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF INCOME cap off. I look at the rates of Janitors compared to that of a siding guy and it is 26.8% higher to the construction industry.

    Mike: That has been in effect for years with the CRA when applying for Clearance Certificates to work for contractors/builders or on any construction site. That only comes into play if the WSIB is trying to make you (as the subcontractor) deemed a worker of the the Contractor/Builder. You have to prove to both the WSIB and the CRA with proof of invoices (and not to ONE contractor/builder) tools, accounts with Suppliers, and then they rule you as truly being your own business. (Independent Operator) Independent Operators did not have to pay WSIB until this year and yes what I’ve written here was the way it worked. If you are a SOLE INDEPENDENT Operator with NO workers you cannot exempt yourself – nor can you exempt yourself if you have workers if you YOURSELF as the I/O step on the jobsite to work. The paperwork you speak of is from years gone by now – the law is here unfortunately and we just have to keep fighting to get it repealed POINT BLANK!

    Robert: Check their WSIB rates compared to the Extortion rates in Ontario!

    Gordon: You are speaking about the undergrounders (I’ve hand them to the WSIB on a silver platter and they have NOT ACTED ON ONE I’VE GIVEN THEM YET” We are legit and aboveboard and I don’t want my husbands business to pay on his earnings when we are covered more superiorly than that WSIB could even imagine supplying to us! The underground undercuts everyone, and BTW most of those underground CASH WORKERS don’t file income tax other than to say I’ve got NO INCOME, they don’t pay taxes they don’t pay into HST, they don’t contribute to the society but sure as heck when they get hurt they run to WSIB for a payout! (TRUTH) Anyone who is legit has a hard time with the fly by nighters but why is that your fault or my fault? It is the WSIB fault..get up off their chairs/pound the jobsites (they do in my area) and find the underground and for PETE’S SAKE WSIB WHEN I OFFER UP THE UNDERGROUND ACT ON IT…THEY could care a less! They just KNOW of the LEGIT businesses and are going to make us pay for the UNDERGROUND, I’d rather eat wooden nickels then give the WSIB a red cent!

    Violeta: It has been my argument with the WSIB since the year 2002 when they started spewing they were going to make it Mandatory coverage to the ENTIRE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY! The underground will get a LOT RICHER now because a LOT OF LEGIT BUSINESSES WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS AND LAYOFF THEIR EMPLOYEES! No more income tax, no more HST collected, no more WSIB payments for employee, and guess what everyone in Business for themselves cannot collect EI, so where they going to go to feed their families WELFARE????

    David: Well said they certainly spew out (the Government) that they estimate 140,000 businesses out there in construction BUT NO-ONE CAN COME UP WITH A NUMBER FOR THE UNDERGROUNDERS! As I stated earlier I’ve handed them over undergrounders and guess what they are still undergrounders!

    Rosaire: Sadly that is going to happen more and more and not to just the little guy but the big CONTRACTORS/BUILDERS. The time to stand up to this is NOW by signing the petition and spreading the petition to everyone you know! WE 10,000′S OF thousands of us to BE IN THE PUBLIC EYE AND STANDING STRONG TOGETHER ON THIS ISSUE. Think about the petition and forwarding it and spread the word across this province. Randy Hillier has told me to keep it going and to EDUCATE the people and get them involved. I PLAN TO DO THAT without a PAID membership to any organization! some are planning to start an organization to represent the Businesses there are enough of them out there now. What needs to happen now is to EDUCATE the people across this province and get EVERY PERSON AFFECTED BY THIS BILL TO STAND ON THEIR OWN TWO FEET ALONG SIDE US TO HAVE THEIR VOICES/FACES/CONCERNS SHOWN VISIBILY.

    Harry: You are absolutely correct the invoices have to be broken down to LABOUR (and it is charged 100% at your rate of premium) every $100.00 earned! Material should be separate on the invoice. New Tactic by the WSIB

  9. I just did a calculation for 2011 to see what I would have paid in Wsib had I been required to, and then what I paid in other taxes. Wsib is charged on the amount I invoice, in short what they deem the labour portion, regardless of my expenses (guess they dont want you buying any other insurances)

    Some interesting facts :

    1. my wsib premiums amounted to more than my federal and provincial income taxes COMBINED.

    2. My wsib premiums amounted to 60% of my net pay.

    Seems to me that everyone I talk to at WSIB doesn’t understand that I am an Incorporated business. Somehow they feel that the can flout the laws of this country and charge me an almost 10% tax on money that is not even by Revenue Canadas standards taxable.

    I’m thoroughly disgusted with this, and its sad that I have to consider closing my doors and going and getting a job.

  10. HERES THE WAY OUT GUYS…. LISTEN. …

    Start a 2nd company….solely intellectual providing expertise in your trade.NON CONSTRUCTION
    IF A CONTRACTOR OWES YOU 10000 FOR EXAMPLE …..GIVE HIM 2 INVOICES….
    ONE FOR 5000 PLUS HST …FROM YOUR CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
    ONE FOR 5000 PLUS HST ….FROM YOUR NEW INTELLECTUAL COMPANY

    By the time you pay the employees and materials from the construction company it will be broke with no gross to speak of.
    the intellectual company being non construction will be immune from wsib
    doesnt cost the builder a penny more and your guys are still covered by wsib

    there is no law of how much you have to charge in CONSTRUCTION
    there is no law against starting a new company
    there is no law against having 2 companies
    there is no law against a builder writing 2 cheques
    insure him you will cover the cost of the 2nd cheque

    YOUR RATIO MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM THE 50/50 EXAMPLE ABOVE …SET THE RATIO THAT BEST WORKS FOR YOU

    GOD BLESS CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

  11. please keep me posted

  12. Well congratulations to the Ontatrio Liberals and WSIB. I just laid off both my workers and added them to the ranks of the unemployed which was just released; ‘Canada loses 55,000 jobs in March’. I can’t and won’t pay the extortion that the Ontario Liberals and WSIB want me to pay so I am giving you my workers and their families to look after. Well done McGuinty and Gwynn for driving good businesses out of Ontario with your brand of steal from the lower class to give to the rich. I’m done, I can’t deal with this crap any longer. This government will reap what it has sown. Wait til the coming months to see how bad it REALLY gets.

  13. The Canadian Home Builder Association recently published an article stating mandatory WSIB would actually combat the pervasive underground economy by closing the loophole that allows contractors to style their employees as independent contractors.

    However, what I’ve read elsewhere is this mandatory WSIB coverage will in fact help the underground economy. I know I’m commenting on this article quite late – but does anybody know why the Canadian Home Builder Association would make that claim – that it is in face combating the underground economy?

    This is the article that appeared in the ‘Home Builder’ magazine: http://www.building.ca/news/mandatory-wsib-coverage-combats-the-underground-economy/1001997526/

    • Robert Koci

      You ask a good question. My first comment; Cash contractors don’t care if a loophole is closed or not. They don’t pay WSIB in the first place.

      As long as the difference in costs between a legit contractor and a cash contractor is significant , the only thing that will combat the cash economy will be policing (forcing cash contractors to pay what they owe, or drive them out of the industry). The additional costs of WSIB will increase the difference and do nothing for policing.

    • Because they are not very smart .

  14. Why is there nothing , or very little , in the news about this bill? Does anybody out
    there in the media care about this issue. It will affect not only the contractors but also the consumers. The only ones it will not touch at all is the guys that work for cash and their customers, who by the way are responsible for the cash economy in the first place. If we all paid our fair share of taxes maybe we have a hope of not becoming another Greece.

    • Robert Koci

      I think the Toronto Sun is about the only newspaper that will cover something as specific to the industry as this. That’s why you have to keep reading Canadian Contractor!!

  15. are you suggesting that if i was to start a small contracting company in
    retirement and gross say 30,000.00 in labour fees, that i would b required to
    abtain Wsib insurance, what would that premium cost me. and as a self employed person, would i be eligible for E.I, and should i being sending detuctions in for same. please let me know . thank you in advance.

    • You have to register, your premiums will be about 6-9% of your gross income. If you do mostly roofing you will pay about 14% Now if you work only for homeowners you can be exempt. One sub contract or commercial job and you will have to pay WSIB on all income in that quarter. You are not eligible for any E.I,
      If you hire employees than you have to pay WSIB on all their income as well as take E.I and CPP off. Vacation pay at 4% and Statutory holidays must be paid.
      Hopefully this helps

  16. Well almost 4 months into my season and over 50% loss of revenue. Almost every job the homeowner has a cash contractor> Not just any contractor but my competitors for years. It sucks because I’m be forced out of business because I refuse to do cash. Estimated on a job yesterday and the client wanted to meet me today to go over details. Thought finally someone who cares about quality. A government worker in the building and planning division. Sat down only to be presented with 5 quotes from other contractors. Three of which were 700 to 1300 cheaper and all cash. A couple of years ago I would have been able to sell the job but not anymore. Talked about hiring legitimate companies and warranties to no avail. These companies have all the insurances and if something goes wrong the job is now on the books. Warranties still as far as I’m convinced would be void as there are not invoices. Never in my life have I been so mad. I used to be able to get by on reputation only but now I feel like I am being targeted by our government. I know there are parts of Ontario that are still good for legitimate businesses but London is not one of them. Maybe I’m just one of the unlucky ones who run into more cash customers than others I don’t know. What I do know is my family is suffering and after 28 years of having a great company I am now pissed off.
    Our government says the WSIB was created to fight the underground economy. I don’t see how this tax grab is fighting anything but the poor legitimate guys who are fighting to survive. Want to fight the underground economy try and come up something better than a scam to recover your 14 billion dollar deficit that you created from mismanagement.

    Why not at least have a drivers license or some form of Id on every invoice. I know this won’t prevent the cash guys completely but it will make it harder. They need to start calling all of the so called Kijiji companies and ask for their WSIB numbers and registrations. Do something than just create another tax we can’t afford. The underground economy is not paying this tax and many other things so creating it just put another nail in our coffins.

  17. As an independent these wsib rates are off the chart as far as being able to support a person trying to make ends meet on a dailey basis.
    What is the incentive to keep working if, all you are doing is paying the Gov’t ?
    We should be able to buy our own insurance coverage which is cheaper,covering independents for 24 hours instead of 8 hours while at work.
    I was always a proud Canadian.
    What happened to freedom of choice? The important thing is to be covered with insurance!
    I have never collected wsib – Why should the average worker have to pay for McGuinty’s incompetence while he is enjoying retirement?

    • Amen to that

  18. WSIB is a scam not only in this new law but all together! I agree there needs to be a form of safety and protection and insurance for those that get injured on the job but this is ridiculous, How can our economy repair itself and bring new money into our societys if the government is just picki g our pockets for their share. We should have the right to choose oir insurer’s lets eliminate wsib, big time contractors/builders should just he forced to carry insurance from there choice of insurer and if you employ more than 5 persons than you must employ an on the job or on site safety supervisor! The rates we pay in wsib coukd easily cover that wage and creating these jobs will benefit our economy!

  19. I sure hope the stress of WSIB harassing me for their money, and yes, I guess I owe it to them, and I do pay all my bills (maybe not on time, a contractors story, if we don’t get stiffed), doesn’t affect my work concentration so I don’t end up hurt on the job, and that would be a first ever in 17 yrs in business. I have to go out of business if this continues and make new arrangements to live, but I love what I do, my life is my work and my work is my life.

    I have as well reported to the government and the disability officers the underground fraud people, they as well they rip off many people, and the police or anyone can or could do anything, I don’t get it !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Long time trader here, left trading because it was a corrupt industry and when you followed the money trail it always ended up in insurance or govt. The entire term workmans safety insurance is a sham. It should not be used in the same sentence as they have nothing to do with each other and its an insult to the working man. This product was created to take cash out of the hands of the person who they know has it. Of course they don’t care about the cash guy and the one man business working on roofs, those don’t make any money and there is nothing to take.

  21. I have made a discussion to not do commercial jobs as I only have one on going commercial contract , but recently a few other business’s ask me for estimates, I had contacted Wendy’s Restaurant to say I would no longer provide the service the staff and higher ups have adored and praised me for years, then WSIB got the call to cancel the premium they are charging me. I am not letting this happen, WSIB has taken alot of income out of my business now, and I just can’t afford $3400.00 a year insurance and add that to the top of my invoicing, the more I make the more they get, NOT WITH ME, I am fighting back. I think the industry will take quite a hit for WSIB”S big plan for money WE earned. Where is this petition for me to sign and I will go to my MP. WSIB will get the $800.00 for the first installment and that will be it. GREAT MOVE WSIB< you have created a big problem and less money for lots of people.

  22. I see a few comments here regarding WSIB and gov…the fedral nor do the provincial govs have any part of WSIB.Problem is this WSIB is in debt over a billion dollars, This is not the first time! A few years back they were.on the verge of going belly up, at that point the gov stepped in and helped them ou. As much as I would love to see WSIB go under as would any other contractor, the thing is if WSIB goes under thousands of WSIB employees are jobless. So they jack our rates to fix there mistake, and avoid leaving thousands without work. Of course our gov will bail them out again, they provide a service in witch we need,(yes its needed) and the gov especially dosent want to see that many people jobless! Less tax dollars for them.
    Bottom line is this WSIB needs to stop over paying those who claim compensation.
    I know a guy who was a temp at a factory he had to have surgery for carpal tunnel, now hes been in comp for over 2 years and they are paying hia tuition and his living expenses whike he goes toncollege.

    • Robert Koci

      I have to disagree with you that WSIB is needed. All that is needed is for the government to outline what kind of insurance contractors need to have, and then let the private sector supply it.

      • Robert I could not agree with you more. We met in Hamilton at the protest in February. I am so surprised that insurance companies are not fuming mad that they have this competition . More protest need to happen . I know we are all busy trying to make a living , but I`m done with government stealing from me . Just my thought . Thanks

  23. You are 100% right, sorry when I say WSIB is needed I mean that only to the extent of insuring safe work place amd compensation for those who hey injured. But if private insurance companies can insure the same.thing foe more reasonable rates then good by WSIB…
    But ar that point insurance companies will need to habe inspectors visitimg jobsites to ensure safty percautions are met.

    • That’s why we have the ministry of labour, the guys that drive around in those nice shinny white cars. Insurance is only that , insurance. Right now we are paying both to do the same job, wsib and M of L WSIB has to go !!!! They are a rip-off. Just my opinion.

      • Robert Koci

        We need private insurance. Simple. Let the government set the rules, let the private sector provide the insurance.

  24. I would like to know when the next protest rally is.I will be first on the bus. Please let me know.

    • Robert Koci

      We will. And be right there with you.

  25. I receive my WSIB welcome packet saying they appreciate my business and how they are good for ME. Like I have any choice, as many before me mentioned, better and cheaper insurance is not good enough for them. Reason being that the Government is not working with them, only WSIB so they can keep their thumb up our asses and know our every move for taxation.. All about the tax dollars. Sadly the brilliant ones do not give a shit about the little guy!
    Almost equates to the Mob extorting for protection money.

  26. i was in the mining industry in the 80s and we had to pay 20- percent back then, i quickly went to cash and never looked back, i remember a worker who was closing a load binder on a load and it popped back and gave him a bloody mouth, great workers, never fiiled a claim because i told him i didnt have coverage, ,,,yes thoose days r gone forever now, everyones a complainer now, a litte cut on the finger will cost u a lot of money good luck,, im thinking of getting in the homeowner contractor cash busness now, because this new law will drive prices up and make it more lucrative for cash deals,…. you cant stop us so dont try.. thats a lesson i learned from the big banks,, but the difference between me and the banks is that Idont pay payolla to the crooked politicians to look the other way, i fly under the radar, im off the grid

  27. I just finished paying my audit from 2010, in 2012. Sure enough, we are getting audited again…like they haven’t had enough (just paid 30k) I am noticing I don’t have all my clearance certificates from 2011 and 2012. All of our contractors have accounts. Are they going to penalize us for not having the certificates?

    • Robert Koci

      Good question for Sean Keene. Where are you Sean?

      • Just to post an update the audit is complete and he didn’t care too much about having clearance certificates, all he seemed to care about is if the contractors had accounts and in good standing. But moving forward I am going to get ALL certificates to cover us, for the next audit because we know this won’t be the last one.

  28. I was just doing the HST last night and when I calculated how much i’m me suppose to pay this month for WSIB, i just got a lump in my stomach and stay awake till 6am without sleep. All these extra taxes it’s just a money grab that could be so handy for people running small business like me. I already pay business ins. and this’s so outrages. My husband goes in a depression mood when I tell him where the money goes.

    Last May, I pretended that i didn’t know about the changes, and they actually waved the little bit I had to pay.

  29. You don’t need WSIB if 100% of your work is paid directly to you by homeowners. As soon as you do one job as a sub for another contractor you must pay premiums on all work you did for the reporting period regardless of whether or not it was for a homeowner or a contractor. As a contractor I would think that one way around WSIB would be to have the homeowners pay every trade directly and just bill the customer a management fee for running the job. Commercial work is a different story…

  30. I’m a 1 man handyman doing residential repairs for over 20 years, registered with revenue Canada and insured for liability and personal injury for the entire time.
    While working on a clients personal residence , I was offered the opportunity to do some light maintenance work at some “coffee shops” he owns, part of a large chain that are independently franchised.

    Thinking this might be a good opportunity to grow my small business into the commercial sector, and wanting to do it right. I made the mistake of contacting WSIB to enquire about registering my business with them.
    The “handyman” premium rate I was quoted was 9.1% on Gross.
    This is to repair door closers, washroom door stalls, unclog toilets, replace toilets ,maybe paint washroom and the occasional drywall repair,when required etc… this is just small general maintenance.. WOW

    If I was a plumber , to unclog that same toilet my rate would be around 3.6%
    and a plumber could also replace a door handle .

    So by working on these small “commercial” shops on an as needed basis,(once or twice a month) my gross income (residential and commercial) will now be hit with a 9.1% tax. How the hell do they justify this shakedown?
    Needless to say, I passed on the opportunity.
    My head is about to explode.

    Funny thing is , I called my MPP Vic Dhillon looking for some sort of explanation for this and he was pretty much speechless. From his mouth “That doesn’t sound right ” what the hell is going on here ?

    • Hi Rob, welcome to the world of unfairness. I am also a home renovator with a few doctor offices I do small repairs in . No any longer . my clients are pissed off , cause they liked dealing with the little guy like me . This is a big rip off. just my thoughts for now . Do not vote Liberal in the next election . Thanks

  31. I have a small business for myself and wanted to hire a friend and get him covered. I registered the business to get clearance but never paid any money and didnt hire him. They have been charging me ever since and I refuse to pay over $20,000.00 in bills with the WSIB considering i never remitted anything because it was zero and never employed anyone. WSIB is outrageous how much they want you to pay for the coverage you or your employees get. Now since i closed that business and have been trying to open a new one since the 2009 bill passing they will not wave my $20,000.00 bill and refuse to drop it and also refuse to give me coverage for my new business until I have paid the $20,000.00 bill… How is anyone going to pay that at a 9-5 job without running a business??? WSIB are a bunch of crooks.

  32. I also think that more checking on the so called injured persons should be brought in to answer for ripping off the system. There are some ( maybe a lot ) that are still working for cash. I also had to lay off my employees and do my work alone . pretty much anything to do with government is unfair to small business. Maybe we should all go to the welfare line and demand that we are looked after, and let the municipalities do the bitching for us . They may have more success.

  33. I have read all of the above comments and unfortunatly I have little else to add.
    I have been in the construction industry for the past 28 years and a self employed renovation contractor for the past 18. and what we all are witnessing here is nothing short or disgraceful.
    When and how did things get this distorted. W.S.I.B, as I understand is not even a government institution but is sanctioned by the government to deal out and enforce these drakonian rules with virtually no checks or balances enforced upon itself.
    Talk about the tail wagging the dog!
    I can work for a home owner and not be subjected to the 9.1% extortion rate that W.S.I.B. demands but the second I take on a job for another contractor or a buisness of any sort, my entire quarter year is ripe for the picking. And if your lucky enough to not have had work for a contractor or buisness and therefore did not submitt for one of the quarters good luck in obtaining a clearance certificate for when you next require one. It,s a complete do over.
    Our local M.P.P.s seem to be completeley powerless to deal with any of this. citing the benifits of having a strong provincial insurance agenda.
    They tell us that we sould be “ thankfull“ that if we are injured at work, than all our needs will be met to sustain us through the rehabilitation process.
    Yea right! I thought that paying for my own policy for the past 18 years the policy that not ony covers me at work but at home or pretty much everywhere else was doing that just fine and oh ya for about 1/8 the cost.
    Besides, What ever happened to free enterprise and a competetive market in the democracy that we live in. W.S.I.B. is the only choice we are given, mandated or rather dictated. We are told that we can either pay this one organization or pay the penalty, a rather severe monitary amount along with your usual summission or fold.
    Is there no individual or institution out there that will help combat this grossly unfair, blotted and corrupt organization.
    My good god what does the future hold for a strong free marketplace in Ontario.

  34. Kevin
    absolutely right
    if this ends up going in the direction the government wants . Allot of us will be penny less and homeless . just what i worked all my life for .If change for the worse happens ,you will be able to dig up the past in the bottom of the nearest out house, with all the rest of the crap. Its hard enough to make a living , now we have to deal with more stupidity and greed.

  35. My heart goes out to everyone, and I as well, I have been deeply affected this winter as homeowners pinch their pennies, and me too. I have wrote my letter to the Labour Minister ( no reply yet ) and signed petitions, so “when” is there going to be another peaceful demonstration to show the impact this has had on all of us now to date. WSIB is killing us contractors this winter. We all need to show the government that all these issues, Bill 119, the diesel fuel rip off, hydro, the corruption and scamming, this is not going to put up with anymore, if your family and friends care for you get them to help, as numbers are what we need. Let’s all stop Ottawa and Toronto with a traffic jam on the same day, nothing more has done anything since Feb 2013 that I know of. A complete stand still might get their attention if they are as well stuck in this traffic jam. I hope the trucking industry will agree. Is worth the days pay to make a stand ? But does it happen?, so far, NO, why not?, what do we have to lose?, or better yet, how do we change things now ? -Sensible, logical, and peacefully. -

  36. This government has no idea how much damage they are doing. By the time they realize what has been done most of us will be in poverty.

    The talk on the streets is if you can’t beat them join them. That is what I am hearing from my contractor friends. Accepting more cash deals is the word of the day. All this does is drive prices down and in the end we will all lose.Government revenues will diminish even more. The problem with our near-sighted government is they will tax us and service charge us more to make up the difference. This will only further feed the underground as contractors and consumers find ways to survive.

    Our government needs to stop listening to the labour unions and start helping the millions of small and medium sizes businesses. Creating more regulations and red tape for us is just putting more nails in the coffin.

    As a contractor for almost 30 years I soon will be taking my skills never to teach again. I’m only one of thousands of fed up veterans who will be forced out of business leaving behind generations of knowledge. The kind of knowledge that you can’t find in a book. We are also teaching our kids to stay away from the trades as it is a dead-end. This is not what our kids should be hearing from us but why would I steer my kids and grand-kids down this road.

    This government needs to be stopped but for some reason we all just sit in our little cubicles. They have made it almost impossible for us to find the time to rise up and make a stand. We are so worried about hydro, gas, service fees, taxes and whatever other fees they have created that we feel overwhelmed. This makes us all just coil up in a ball and try to protect what we have left. We need to band together somehow but I don’t know if we ever will. What I do know is this wrecking ball of a government is not going to stop as long as the labour unions keep lobbying and we keep cowering and hiding.

    We must remember that the government is supposed to work for the people not against it. We are millions strong and we do have a voice if we band together.

  37. I agree letting your kids learn a trade is like teaching them only to dislike or hate any one who is not part of the group. Read the news blogs any one with out a license is classed as incompetent and unsafe , no mater how many years they have done the same job.
    It seems that by focusing on the one and only job they haven’t been taught the skills of life, by not learning and taking a interest in other skills that are out there .

    Basically narrow minded unable to believe that someone can actually do the job without a license. It has been done for years and years.
    How many people fix there own cars ,homes etc. why must we and our kids not have a good life. They should have the right to pick and choose what they want to enjoy doing in life,
    I am proud to say I know how to do alot of different trades , well enough to make inspectors and owners happy.

    do they really need more

  38. I recently posted here and after seeing many more posts I’ve decided I’ve had enough. I can not start a second business because of wsib. I will be protesting in front of the wsib office at Jackson square starting this week on wednesday April 2nd.

    I will be making “wsib needs to change” picket signs. Anyone who is not presently working or just want to show your support, please protest with me. The more we protest the more they will see that it needs to change. Power and change is in numbers. The time is now.

  39. Why do I have to pay according to my GROSS income on my WSIB premiums!?
    It’s bad enough they are FORCING me to pay this extortion! Why should I have to pay on top of the 13 percent tax I am FORCED To charge and get nothing for it!
    I am at the end of my rope. Just give me one more reason and I will quit and go so far underground you’ll never see me again! Oh wait, there’s the illustrious “College of Trades” coming soon, so call me a groundhog.
    I hate paperwork and filling out forms. I’m a carpenter, damn it!! Not a secretary!!
    I work with my hands. That’s all I know how to do. I’ve been able to make a living at it this far (30 years) but that’s it. I’m no millionaire. But in the eyes of the Ontario government I’m making more than I deserve.

  40. I am a small business owner with 6 employees, doing industrial maintenance, in business since 2001. When I started the business I required WSIB and opened an account. I was asked a few questions and then placed in a rate group. In 2011 when wsib went online, I found out that all of my competitors were in a different rate group that was about 60% less than the one my company was placed into. When I contacted wsib to go over this, I was immediatly (coincidently) they said flagged for an audit. After the audit they determined that I was placed in the wrong rate group and changed us to the proper one. They credited me $1500 which was an overpayment for the prior 3 month period. I contacted them and said I had overpayed for 10 years and was owed about $60,000, they stated thst they can only go back as far as Jan 1 of the year the error was determined…..but if you underpay they can go up to 7 years to get what is owed……just another cash grab by a corrupt government run entity!!

  41. The WSIB is nothing more than a corrupt, wasteful, bureaucratic jugger-naught that carries billions in debt masquerading as a benevolent and friendly workers insurance plan for the people.

    It has been designed to eventually pulverize all small, independent non-unionized contractors in Ontario and drive them out of business and into the unions arms and into the Liberals voting stations.

    The unions already control infrastructure and large scale development construction projects and now they want all of the small reno work, handy man, custom home building trades jobs and the work-for-homeowner market too. And they will get it too thanks to their corrupt Liberal friends down at Queens Park who will give them what they want in exchange for votes.

    Bottom line is independent trades people have four choices: 1) Join a union, become a cog in a wheel working for someone else with a finite salary for the rest of your life. 2) Foolishly continue on as a small contractor business owner who makes less and less every year until the government finally raises premiums and taxes to a point where you will be forced to lose your shirt and close up shop. 3) Close shop now and find another career 4) Move your family and your business out west where workers comp is half of what it is here.

    Those are the painful and pitiful options in Ontario for small business entrepreneurs in the trades. Independent contractors here will all be crushed sooner or later its just a matter of time. The minute I realized that I would have to give 1 work hour per day in wages just to pay the WSIB premium my decision to find employment in another industry was a no brainer.

    Good luck brothers, you’re going to need it.

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