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Ontario - WSIB What does it mean for you?

New legislation came into force in Ontario in January, 2013 which makes WSIB coverage mandatory for construction workers. It will surprise many of you to know that construction includes home inspectors and, in certain circumstances, you will be required to have coverage or will be liable for fines and/or penalties. I called WSIB and the person I spoke to gave me the following details. It is your responsibility to verify how they relate to your own circumstances. Here is the WSIB website.

  1. If you only inspect private residential properties for the current resident owner or the potential buyer, you do not have to register for WSIB.
  2. If the unit has a rental component, eg an apartment in the basement, you have to register, even if the buyer is planning to live in the other unit.
  3. If you inspect for and are paid by someone else, other than the current owner or buyer, eg, a real estate agent to do a pre-listing inspection, you have to register.
  4. If it's a commercial inspection, you have to register.
  5. If you do have to register, premiums are 3.69% of all earnings. All of your inspection fee is considered labour, so all has to be included. And you have to pay on all inspections, not just the commercial, rental units, etc.
  6. If you have no employees, whether you are incorporated or not, you are considered an independent operator and all inspection fees must be reported. This means that even if you had $75K from inspections and you took a salary of $50K, you would have to report $75K for insurable earnings. The insurable earnings ceiling is $84,100 for 2014. If you have employees or more than 1 executive officer of your corporation, you only need to report salaries, so $50K for this example plus whatever your employees are earning. Also, if 1 executive officer in the corporation is not involved in construction work, for example only does office work, that person can be declared exempt.
  7. You were supposed to register by Jan. 1, 2013. If you have not done so yet and WSIB has not caught you, you can volunteer to register without having to pay any fines or penalties, but you will likely have to pay premiums back one year from when you registered.
  8. If numbers 2, 3, or 4 above apply to you, you have to get a Clearance Certificate from WSIB. The certificate says both you and the other party are in good standing with WSIB with paid up premiums. These are free and can be done online if the person/company you're inspecting for is also registered with WSIB. If they are not registered, you have to call WSIB to get the certificate. A certificate is good for 90 days and must then be renewed.

Home inspectors in other provinces are also required to have Workers' Compensation coverage. Please check with your own province for details on what applies to you.

Norah Kendall



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