Magazine for professional home renovators.

Trying to make your Ontario WSIB payments by cutting your private insurance? A bad idea – and here’s why…

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE on a jobsite can be hazardous to your health. Every lungful can contain dust particles laced with toxic chemicals, flooring particles, asbestos and more. These pollutants, over time, will affect anyone’s health. It’s hard to prove where any individual’s cancer has come from, but working on construction jobsites for 10 to 20 years can most definitely play its part.

Worksafe BC says you can find asbestos in over 3,000 construction and industrial products. Over 500 asbestos claims are filed each you in British Columbia. Worksafe BC prevention officers, in cooperation with the industry, are heading up a province-wide anti-asbestos initiative from now until the end of the year.

Peter, a contractor I’ve known for years, called me this week and asked me if it was worth him “also” keeping his individual accident/sickness/disability income policy – one I’d arranged for him years ago – now that Ontario’s WSIB has been forced on him as part of their sweeping new mandatory contributions policies.

Peter’s mandatory new WSIB payments were costing him $303.00 monthly. His wife wanted him to cut his private insurance policy to cut costs.

Peter is 44. Last year, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, after an annual check up returned abnormal blood tests. He underwent chemotherapy but kept working.

Now, the cancer has returned and Peter will need more aggressive cancer treatment. This time around, he’ll be off work during this treatment. And this is what made his call really disturbing to me. He was thinking of cancelling his private insurance, since his WSIB insurance was so expensive.

I had to explain to Peter that his private accident/sickness/disability policy is precisely what he needs during his current health challenges. Peter didn’t fully understand his policy. He thought it was all about accidents, not something as common as cancer.

Luckily, having retained his policy, Peter will be able to make a claim on this policy and he will be paid a monthly income while he’s recovering.

Two months ago, Paul, 54, another self-employed Toronto contractor called me. He, too, had been diagnosed with cancer. After getting his diagnosis, for the next 30 days he logged his work activity and during that time he only managed to turn up for work for three days. Sadly, he had to let his workers go and have someone else finish his jobs – he was rendered, in such a short time, too – totally disabled.

Paul is now receiving disability payments through his private insurance while he awaits surgery.

It’s absolutely vital for Ontario contractors to full understand that WSIB does not cover these sort of claims! WSIB ‘s new, mandatory coverage has led many contractors, for budget reasons, to abandon their personally-owned disability insurance coverages. They are then left vulnerable when a serious illness like cancer strikes.

This makes for hard reading, perhaps, but let’s look at the facts. In Ontario last year, more men died of cancer than women. The top three cancers were (1) Prostrate Cancer (2) Breast Cancer (3) Colorectal Cancer. A staggering 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. One in 4 Canadians will contract heart disease – half of them under the age of 65. One in 3 strokes happen to people under age 65.

If you still own an individual sickness disability income insurance policy, but are worried about all those other government agencies putting their hands in your pocket in Ontario and elsewhere, think twice about giving such a policy up. It could be your only financial lifeline when these illnesses strike suddenly, as they did for these two unsuspecting contractors.

If you don’t have an individual plan like this, look around for a policy. And I heartily recommend you look at critical illness insurance. It pays you a one time lump-sum amount, tax-free, 30 days after a diagnosis of cancer, heart attack or stroke. The cancer has to be invasive, so skin cancer does not count. The idea is to get enough money to cover your income for three to six months, while you go through treatments. It’s well-worth checking out now.

By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, jobsite closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Passion – Commitment – CARAHS – Toll free 1 866-366 2930

CARAHS has over 130 online Health & Safety e-courses

Posted by
Alec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS (Canadian Association of Renovators And Home Services) A Non profit organization for self employed renovators And home services
7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. You know I am so pi ed off right now, this government we have in this province needs to be gone and all of those A–holes they put in power such as that idiot that is with wsib that came up with that idea of ripping us off only so he could get a $400,000.00 bonus.
    I have a better Idea on what we could do with him!

  2. I recently discussed the issue of manditory WSIB coverage with an ex O.P.P. officer who was quite knowledgable regarding the rules as of Jan.01, 2013. We were both clearly in agreement that if a regular citizen tried the same approach to forcing insurance coverage they could be charged with Extorsion and/or Racketeering.
    When will Ontario’s contractors and tradespersons pull their heads from the sand? What the WSIB gets away with is wrong and they need to be subjected to open market competition at the very least, if not total reformation.

    This approach the workplace insurance is killing much needed trades jobs.

  3. Yeah, and the funny thing the government got in vacation almost three months.
    They will start by October 20/2014, isn’t this interesting?

    Should they punch a card when enter queens part, and get paid only the hours they go there? That will help the Ontario economy way faster.

    After all, those work in factories, that’s the way they get paid, shouldn’t be any different treatment for government MPPs and their creations side agencies.

    The Premier motto, building Ontario up; up side down,, The previous one Mc guilty, motto, move forwards; backwards,,,,, more debt.

    It looks like the people became to passive, accepting all the bullshit been put to them.

    In the fall things will get very interesting, when the public sector start negotiating their collective contracts, with the empty coffers.

  4. Alec Caldwell

    Extortion & racketeering. I like it. How about we all start our own thing!

    Maybe get into the alcohol and gambling business! To late….covered LCBO & OLG

    It seems everyone I talk to these days has had enough of all this government stuff.

    How about the OCOT? Shortly they are about to hit the industry with a bloody nose. Will they be the ones that breaks the camels back?

    Lets start a revolution. What do you think?

    • Alec,
      I tried to post a response last week after I read this article, yet it see by the comments here a lot of people do speak of the what’s called the monopoly held by the WSIB. I find Chris Lagmans commentary very interesting, specifically about conversing with the ex OPP. Officer.
      With regards to the words extortion look at the other drywall contractor dealing with a WSIB audit. As I note on that article mr. Verbos found me through the original drywaller suing the WSIB. What’s very imortant to note is the case is not similar, it is identical, even more disturbing is his audit took place a couple of years after I received the decision about my situation. A decision that proved beyond any doubt the auditors were wrong. When verbos brought my case to their attention, the WSIB auditor and another manager met with him, released some clearance certificates and allowed the business to move forward. However, and here is the extortion, rather than admit the wrong, reverse the decision, mr verbos must continue to pay $ 5,400.00 a month until his appeal is heard.
      Back to the college of trades I must remind everyone, prior to this past election, OCOT was poised to bring in drywallers and framers, a decision was made by the liberals to delay that implementation. We all know the reason why that was. The election. The announcement was made during the election that an assessment would be undertaken to evaluate the situation, who should be in and who need not be in. What most people assume but do not know is that trade unions have offered their support for inclusion. What I do know is this is not supported by the membership. Members of these unions have neither been consulted nor allowed a voice. So who is behind it if the membership is not. The election is done the liberals have by assistance of Sid Ryan and the teachers now been given the power to do as they please.
      Alec I wish your statement would resonate and action can be taken, I would be right next to you.

      Sean

  5. You know Alec, queens park is corrupted, latest news, MPPs housing allowance.
    That’s unacceptable for MPPs leaving close to queens park and get housing allowance, those got paid in this conditions, should pay back what they took from tax payers.

    They have close to three months vacation, all paid, not enough, still want more, do we the trades people and all others have these kind benefits?

    How this shit will be allowed? Revolution isn’t the right way, public manifestations and demanding correction all things were done improper, none democratic ways.

    The elephant in the leaving room will soon be notice.

  6. I was reading your column on the WSIB rates. I find it totally disturbing, knowing that WSIB began a cost cutting campaign with new CEO David Marshall. Did you know he makes $400,000 a year with a 20% yearly bonus. He was a banker prior and hired KPMG to streamline the insurance board. Only problem is, people are not widgets, they are people. WSIB has saved over 650 milliion dollars off the backs of injured workers by denying almost all claims. They even deny oral hearings, which doesn’t even make sense. If any of your contractors get hurt, please encourage them to join the groups fighting Wsib, cause they aren’t alone.
    Thank you Manitoulin Northshore Injured Workers Group on facebook

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