Canadian Contractor

Reducing WSIB rates for self employed contractors in Ontario

A private members bill that would reduce Ontario WSIB premiums for owners/operators passed first reading earlier this month.

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December 30, 2014 by Alec Caldwell

If you are an employer in the construction industry in Ontario, how would you like a two-thirds rate reduction in your WSIB premiums?

That could be reality IF a private members’ bill (Bill 155) to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1977, passes at Queen’s Park. It’s only a first step, but the Bill passed first reading on Dec. 12.

(Here is a post I wrote on this bill, back in October.)

The bill was introduced by Ontario Liberal MPP Laura Albanese.

The amendment provides that the rate used to calculate the premium to be paid by employers in the construction industry in respect of independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in partnerships and executive officers of corporations must be one-third of the rate used to calculate the premium to be paid in respect of workers. Meaning a two-thirds rate reduction, which would be great news and makes sense.

Let’s be honest, how many of you self-employed contractors, if injured, will stay at home and make a claim? Jobs have to be completed on time and, as you know if you run your own business, staying home sick is NOT an option!

And the WSIB knows this. Mandatory WSIB for owners and operators, brought in under Bill 119 in January 2013, was basically a ploy to raise revenue. WSIB knew that you independent owners and operators would not be making claims. WSIB premiums for owners and operators provide cash in WSIB’s bank as the agency slowly pays down its billions in unfunded liabilities.

The introduction of mandatory WSIB does not make job sites safer. It only increases costs for consumers and puts contractors at a competitive disadvantage against illegal cash operators.

We need to make the construction market fairer and make it a level playing field for everyone. The way I see it, the companies following current laws are being hammered by having to pass on extra costs like mandatory WSIB. We had already become tax collectors by way of the HST. And earlier this year, even contractors trying to take a coffee break were being hassled for their Ontario College of Trades credentials at (at least) one Tim Hortons location in the province.

In spite of the Liberal majority at Queen’s Park, all contractors need to speak up against underground-feeding agencies, policies and bureaucracies.We have the support of MPPs like Laura Albanese, on the WSIB bill above, and we have the support of MPP Garth Dunlop (Simcoe North) who has been particularly strong in opposing the OCOT – as well as on the WSIB issue.

Thanks to all our readers in 2014 and especially to all those who have posted comments. We always need your feedback, your views and your honesty. KEEP them coming.

May 2015 be a brilliant year for all of you!


By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. We are independent of unions & Government

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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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8 Comments » for Reducing WSIB rates for self employed contractors in Ontario
  1. Metalliofu says:

    Well written article. Thanks for sharing Alec.
    And I along with many others are thankful for private member bills such
    as this.
    I would only hope that a private members bill introduced by Ontario Liberal MPP Laura Albanese would go one step further.
    Or, that an MPP would table a bill so that WSIB would be fair in their rates.
    Why should I, as a sole-proprietor, pay the same rate for my accountant as for the employee who works on site with dangerous machinery and challenging work stations? Keep it up Laura and I challenge other MPPs to table bills that would reflect a more fair dealing with small business’s, for they are the back bone of our country Canada.

  2. Simon says:

    Why do we pay thousands a month for wsib while those in BC pay a monthly fee of around $200 !?!

    • Steve Payne says:

      Simon, which specific category of trade are you, and we will dig out the relevant numbers and compare the exact numbers.

  3. john says:

    masonry industry rate is 13 percent this all get pasted on to the home buyers who says they are not rasing taxes do the math!

  4. John Palmer says:

    Is there any party in the upcoming election who are making a firm stance against manditory WSIB coverage for independent contractors? I’m just wondering who I should vote for in the Grey-Bruce area and also wondering if it’s even an election issue?

    • John Bleasby says:

      Hi John…I have been preparing summary of election promises & platforms from each party that might directly impact the home construction and renovation industries. So far, I have nothing about WSIB issues. My summary will appear on-line next week…John Bleasby

  5. Veronica says:

    If I do open a Freight service trucking business from Canada to US do I need WSIB and if I need how many % rate I have to pay?
    Thank you