Bill 119 – Mandatory WSIB Coverage for the Construction Industry and how it affects Home Inspectors
Effective January 1st, 2013, the Ontario government changed the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (WSIA), under Bill 119, to expand mandatory insurance coverage for the construction sector.
In order to explain better what this means, OntarioACHI has put together a sample of the Questions, and answers that will allow you to realise how this affects you and your business.
Home Inspectors don’t work in the Construction, why does this affect us?Actually, the business activity of Home Inspection is classified in the WSIB Employer Classification Manual under Rate Group 704- 02 Testing,
Inspection, and Related Services, which is in the same category/rate group as Electrical and Incidental Construction Services. This rate group includes custom inspection, testing, and related services performed on-site for construction or for other purposes, as well as the business activity of home inspection.
What if I’m self-employed do I have to register?
The changes to the WSIA, plus the inclusion of Home Inspection in the Construction Industry classification means that as of January 1, 2013, WSIB coverage is mandatory for the following types of Home Inspection businesses:
- partners in partnerships (e.g. Two or more people working together without Incorporation with our without workers)
- Independent operators (e.g. Sole proprietors – self employed non-incorporated with no workers and Incorporated companies with one executive officer only and no workers.
- Executive officers in corporations – single executive officer with workers and multiple officers with our without workers (e.g. Franchiser owners, Sole owner/operators, split income companies)
Exemptions exist under the Workplace Safety Insurance Act in the following cases:
- The home inspector must exclusively do home inspections on an existing private residence, and
- The home inspector is paid by, and work directly for, the occupant or potential occupant or member of their family
What does this mean?
It doesn’t matter how you structure your home inspection business, whether you work as an owner operator of an incorporated company, federal or provincial, or you work as a self-employed individual, or partnership, you are required to have WSIB coverage and register with the WSIB if:
- You inspect any property before it is completed (residential or commercial), or
- You inspect any property (residential or commercial) for an individual or member of their family who does not intend to live in the property you are inspecting, or
- You inspect a commercial property, or
- You inspect a residential property for the client who will live there but you get paid by a third party who is not the client or a member of their family. (e.g. You get paid by a Mortgage Company or your client’s Employer to perform the inspection)
- You inspect a new home build for a private individual regardless of whether you are paid directly by them or a third party
What if I don’t know what use the property is going to be for?
Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the Law. Part of the Inspection process will require you to ask your clients if they or their family intend to live in the property. You will need them to confirm this on the agreement. The OntarioACHI recommended residential agreement has been modified to include this.
What if I don’t want to register?
Anyone who meets the requirements for mandatory coverage is required to register with the WSIB as these rules are now the law. You will be in breach of the Workplace Safety Insurance Act if you:
- knowingly make a false or misleading statement, or
- fail to inform the WSIB of a material change in circumstance when required to do so, or fail to register as an employer within 10 days, or
- fail to provide the WSIB with the necessary information for classification, or
- knowingly make a false or misleading statement regarding registration or classification, or fail to keep accurate statements of wages paid, or
- fail to provide accurate statements of earned wages, or fail to notify the WSIB of a WSIB covered accident, or fail to provide information about such an accident, or
- obstruct or hinder an inspection of an employer’s books or accounts or an employer’s premises, or
- fail to give the WSIB security for payment when required to do so, or
- deduct from workers, or requiring workers to contribute toward, and employer’s WSIB liabilities, or contravene a regulation, or
- as a director and officer, knowingly authorize, permit, or acquiesce in the commission of an offence under the WSIA, whether or not the corporation is prosecuted or convicted.
Amongst other things, if you falsify an employment record to avoid paying a premium due you may be found to have committed an act of fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada.
How much do I have to pay?
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Say you are a Home Inspector that works entirely for People wanting to purchase a house to live in (more commonly known as a buyers inspection), or for People wishing to sell their own house (more commonly known as a pre-sale inspection), you are exempt from coverage and don’t need to register.
However, if for example, on July 1st of any year you do a non-exempt inspection, then you must register at that point. If you then go back to performing exempt inspections for the rest of the year, you only have to stay registered for one quarter (three month minimum), and your premium will be based on all your insurable earnings of that one quarter, not for the prior or following months of the year. If after the three months you perform only exempt work then you have to notify the WSIB if you want to cancel your coverage, otherwise your account will remain open and you will be responsible to report all earnings and pay premiums until you do. It is your responsibility to ensure you notify the WSIB, and have sufficiently detailed paperwork to prove you are compliant.
A calculator to help estimate what your premium will be can be found here.
You will have to be registered and pay premiums from the first occasion of a non-exempt inspection and for three months following. This means that if you perform a non-exempt inspection every three months, you will have to be registered for a whole year, and ALL your insurable earnings will be included in the Premium Calculations.
How do I register?
Gather your business information together and you can register for WSIB coverage online anytime using eRegister or over the phone Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 416-344-1000 or 1-800-
387-0750 (TTY 1-800-387-0050).
How do I pay premiums?
You can calculate and file your premiums online anytime using ePremium. Report your premiums and get an immediate confirmation, as well as review your transactions and check premium updates anytime.
How do I get a clearance?
Using the WSIB eClearance online service you can create a clearance, manage your list of clearances, check to see if a clearance is still valid, or view your account status.
How do I find out more?
To find out more about WSIB’s eServices and Mandatory Coverage in Construction you can check out their website www.needwsibcoverage.ca or contact them directly at 416-344-1000 for Toronto and 1-800-387-0750 long distance.