Canadian Contractor

Protesting Bill 119 in Hamilton, Ontario

Independent operators in Ontario mobilize to tell the Ontario government how they feel about the increased cost of doing business as a result of Bill 119

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February 12, 2013 by Robert Koci

I joined about 150 contractors this morning in front of the WSIB offices in Hamilton to protest Bill 119 and talked to the contractors about the effect of the bill on their businesses. Watch the video by clicking here.

Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine. Tel. 647-407-0754
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11 Comments » for Protesting Bill 119 in Hamilton, Ontario
  1. Greg Paterson says:

    Individual contractors might want to Incorporate, by doing so a contractor
    can give him self a monthly wage ie: $1,000 then he would only be required
    to pay WSIB on that amount instead of on the profit earned . Also taking out a dividend is taxed at a reduced rate.

    • Robert Koci says:

      Sounds like it would work, but one of the frustrations of the power WSIB wields is it can change the rules even after it approves a process. I am referring to its ability to change its mind if, after approving an application from a contractor that a sub is a sub and not an employee, it decides the sub is in fact an employee and subject to WSIB deductions. I would not be surprised if WSIB had the mandate to accept the pay arrangement you suggest, then years later decide it unacceptable and back charge you thousands of dollars.

    • Pete Brouwer says:

      I was told wsib premuims are to be paid on divident income as well there is a cap at ab out 85,ooo in gross income they closed that loop hole.That might mean that as you plan to retire and take money out of your business that you would be paying wsib premiums on those funds.

      • Pete Brouwer says:

        Wsib has miss manged the funds they collected in the past. If they where a private company they would not be in business or they would have changed to survive. Premiums that they are asking us as owners to pay is what they already collect from us for our employees wages and this has just help us see how baldly they are managing these funds . with a 14 billion dollar dept a good portion of our premium is going just to interest on the dept we should not be giving more funds to a organization that can not run a business profitably . they should have a look at cost of administration in private company’s and wsib and see if that is in line. look for ways to cut costs because premiums are to high.

  2. In the last two years we have seen our WSIB rates climb relentlessly. Prior to 2011 we had two classifications, the workers compensation on the majority of our employee’s wages was 3.5%. After 2011 we had a rate of almost 18% imposed on us. The WSIB has lumped businesses doing pressure washing, soda-blasting, sandblasting and industrial high pressure water blasting all under one ridiculously high rate, this rate is a classification that includes high rise concrete forming.
    In 2013 the WSIB will be forcing us business owners to take their coverage. I WILL BE PAYING WSIB ABOUT 18% OF MY PERSONAL INCOME! IF YOU TAKE A $50,000 SALARY THE WSIB ALONE WILL BE ABOUT $9000 PER YEAR.

    There is only an exemption for one executive officer or partner, and they are not allowed to work on the jobsites….
    My company has been actively lobbying the WSIB, the media, politicians and other businesses and hope that perhaps if enough voices are heard that this money grab by the WSIB can be stopped.
    I have both appealed the rate group and classifications. When you wait for the appeal process, you have to pay the new rate group. The one thing that I have figured out dealing with WSIB and the appeals process is that WSIB does not know what we do, how we do it, the equipment we use and the risk involved.
    Mobile / power washing / soda blast and specialty cleaning belongs in the janitorial rate group which is under 4% and not in construction, so there is no WSIB on the owners wages.
    Further to this I have found that other businesses like mine are classified all over the map with rates ranging from 3.5% and up. Good luck trying to win a job on a project when your competition is paying 3.5% and you are paying 18%!

  3. chris says:

    Just a question. The exemption clause is about as clear as mud but one thing that is clear is the sub contractors can not be exempt from WSIB.
    Don’t most renovation general contractors work for and are paid by the homeowner? Does that allow a whole group of contractors an out from this tax grab, even if their sub contractors have to pay into it?

  4. chris says:

    That is clause A. Home renovation exemption. Sole proprietorship.

  5. Dave Fagin says:

    I operate a small company that work in manufacturing almost exclusively.
    For the past 23 years I have protected myself with disability insurance as many other have.
    I have paid WSIB for employees and as you all know in many instances you cannot commencew work without a clearance certificate.
    I understand the need to protect workers but I do not understand why the are placing the burden of paying for the massive WSIB debt upon small business owner who are struggling to survive.
    We were given very little warning of this change and on top of it all they want us to monitor all our subs now.
    This is another slap in the face to the small independant contractor. I’m sure this will put some small businesses in a postion that they could well fail.
    They cannot continue to burden small businesses and expect the economy to perform.
    A couple of years ago it was the CVOR, once a one time payment for the life of the vehicle is is now a yearly payment.
    They never talk about these things in Public, they are simple thrust on us and we comply.
    This has got to stop.

  6. chris says:

    This may have been posted already elsewhere. There is a petition you can sign at

    Dave, I believe a Contractor was always suppose to obtain a WSIB clearence from subs? I know most Contractors don’t ask for it though. We have only had large firms ask us and one mid size company start asking, after they were audited by WSIB.
    You can now register to search on line at WSIB, any companies and their clearance statis, rather then ask for them to show it.

    • Dave says:

      Yes I know, however my point was I was not part of that equation and did not have to carry the extra costs. I have used e-services with WSIB since its inception.
      Not all customer’s require or ask for clearance certificates. Again I stress the added costs that have been directly occured by some 70000 independant contractors in Ontario.
      We do not have a collective voice to speak out against this bill. I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star and it never saw the light of day.
      If we were able to band together I am sure that the government would listen. Look what happened with the Teachers.

  7. Dayna Stanley says:

    We need to rise up and stand against WSIB..every single business owner should NOT PAY! Has this issue been forgotten, have rallys and protesting stopped? But as Canadians we fear our government where it should really be our government fearing the accountability to its citizens!