As I’m sure most of you in Ontario already know, effective January 1, any contractors or subcontractors who have not registered with the WSIB and who continue to work without a valid clearance certificate number may face serious penalties and fines. Generally, anyone who purchases construction services or hires contractors without confirming the contractor has a valid clearance certificate number may also be subject to both penalties and fines.
More specifically, failure to comply with these new requirements may result in the person being prosecuted under the Provincial Offenses Act. A person being convicted can receive a fine not exceeding $25,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both. A corporation is liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 upon conviction for each offense. In addition, Section 141 of the Act provides that the person who directly retains the contractor or subcontractor who fails to pay WSIB premiums or who has outstanding amounts owing, may be deemed to be liable.
“Construction” refers to any of the business activities listed in Class G in the WSIB Employer Classification Manual. These include: Electrical and Incidental Construction Services, Mechanical and Sheet Metal Work, Inside Finishing, Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Construction, Roofing, Form Work and Demolition, Home building, Siding and Outside Finishing and others. Any unregistered business will need to pay back premiums.
Home Renovators Exemption:
Occupants of private residences (and their family members) who hire contractors to do home renovation work are not required to get a clearance number. A contractor will qualify for the home renovation exemption and will not be required to have WSIB coverage for himself ONLY this contractor performs exclusively home renovation work 100 per cent of the time. However, if the business employs workers, it must register with the WSIB and have coverage for its workers or sub contractors.
And if at a private residence, this sole contractor is asked to complete a basement for commercial works, like an at-home hairdressing salon or an at-home insurance office, and is paid by company cheque, this would be considered a commercial property and a loss of his personal WSIB exemption would occur.
If a property owner or a landlord (someone who owns the house but does not live in it) hires you to work on their residential property, this work is not considered exempt home renovation work under the Act. This loss of exemption applies to independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in a partnership or executive officers in a corporation.
Remember, our article is for general information purposes and is not intended as legal advice. Consult WSIB for your unique situation.
CARAHS is a non-profit association for renovators and home services providers. We offer education, information and benefits.
THE LEGAL CORNER