Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Ontario WSIB 'exemption' for renovators is so easy to lose

Canadian Contractor Business Commercial Coverage Insurance Liability Property

WSIB will hammer you for money if, as a renovation contractor, you do even one commercial job. What renovation contractor hasn't been asked to do work in a store, or a restaurant, or a doctor's or dentist's office, or some other commercial establishment? A money grab from the bureaucrats, no question.

Since the Jan. 1 introductory of mandatory WSIB in Ontario for independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in partnerships and even officers of firms, the new WSIB law has really begun to bite, based on the calls and questions coming into our offices.  

It’s still in my opinion a money grab by WSIB. It forces the self-employed to pay premiums to an insurance plan that few will ever make a claim from.  This gives WSIB a nice chunk of money to put towards their huge “unfunded liability” (over $14-billion, when last reported). This is being done on the backs of honest, hard-working contractors. All this does is fuel the underground economy.

But what about this exemption for home renovators?

Remember, if you are hired directly by a homeowner and paid directly by them to complete work in their main place of residence, you do not need to register with WSIB. (The exact wording on the WSIB website is: “Home renovators who do not have workers and contract directly with the person occupying the residence and work exclusively in home renovations work are exempt from the mandatory coverage legislation.”)

Keep in mind you will lose this exemption forever if you do even one commercial or industrial job. Furthermore, if the homeowner has a rental home property and they want you to complete work there, that property is a business, meaning if you work there, you will lose your exemption with WSIB since you will be doing commercial work.

Any commercial work that you take on: goodbye WSIB exemption. Nice, huh?


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4 Comments » for Ontario WSIB 'exemption' for renovators is so easy to lose
  1. Chris Langman says:

    Why is the CFIB not organizing a boycott date for the WSIB? If independent contractors were organized together and withheld payments to the WSIB (and College of Trades for that matter) the Ontario would get the message loud and clear.

    The Ontario government can not be permitted to legislate a monopoly in personal injury insurance. We as contractors must compete to earn the business of Ontarians, the WSIB must do the same.

  2. Ray Cobus says:

    Until all the contractors get together and refuse to pay these fees both with the WSIB and the college of trades nothing will change. Plain and simple, lets all get on same page and protest by refusing to pay, they cant take all our licenses , if they did it would shut down the entire construction industry, and just maybe we could get rid of both these unnessary bureaucrasies. Once again, we can complain all we want, it will do nothing and they know it.

  3. Mark Hofstee says:

    If exempt home renovators take on non-exempt work, the exemption is lost for a minimum of 3 months, but not forever. Nevertheless, it certainly is enough that I will no longer be pursuing any non-exempt work.

  4. Steve Heidebrecht says:

    “Keep in mind you will lose this exemption forever if you do even one commercial or industrial job”

    This is only for one quarter. In the next quarter you don’t do any commercial work you do not have to pay premium.

    What I don’t like is the way they calculate your premium, They take you previous years income and divide by four to calculate the quarterly premium. Even if you only do 10% commercial work and 90% residential.

    It probably safer to just pay the premium and cover yourself in case you get audited.

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