Canadian Contractor

Three in the bed

As a self-employed renovation contractor, you might enjoy your independence, as you should. But you're still "three in the bed." You're in there with the WSIB (in Ontario, or its equivalent in other provinces) and your provinces Ministry of Labour.

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November 6, 2012 by Alec Caldwell

You might not know it, but being a self employed renovation contractor you have two other partners in bed with you whether you like it or not. Right beside you is WSIB (in Ontario, or its equivalent in other provinces) and your provincial Ministry of Labour and there’s nothing you can do about it. Some would describe this relationship as the good, the bad and the ugly.

The WSIB misconception

Contractors seem to believe WSIB are about safety but they’re not. They’re better compared to insurance companies; they collect premiums and pay claims. In the process, they may make some safety videos and other literature, but that’s no different than insurance companies who also use awareness advertising in order to sell their products or services.

The sub-trade misconception

While WSIB asks you to get clearance on any sub trade you hire it indicates they’re self employed, the Ministry of Labour does not see anyone as such. In their eyes everyone is an employee, including sub trades, and their job site safety is your responsibility. If accidents occur, you as the employer will be held accountable and you must show you made every effort to provide a safe and healthy workplace. To insure its success, Policies and Procedures must be followed. It’s the job of the Ministry of Labour to investigate accidents, find fault and prosecute anyone found guilty of contravening the Occupation Health & Safety Act and let me tell you, as good as the Ministry of Labour can be, if you end up getting on their bad side, you can be sure things will get ugly with some hefty fines or more.

If you are not sure where you stand under the Ministry of Labour laws, contact us now to find out: Toll free at 1-866-366-2930 or email:

CARAHS is a non profit Association delivering Safety, Education & Benefits to Self employed Contractors, Renovators, Builders, Trades & Home Services

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Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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