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Industry Perspectives: WSIB – your top f ive questions answered

Sean Baird
Industry Perspectives: WSIB – your top f ive questions answered

We know the impact a workplace injury or illness can have on a business and its employees. Making sure people have the support, care and expertise they need to recover and return to work is what we are all about.

Each day, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) receives hundreds of questions from Ontario businesses. We’re happy to answer all your questions and we’re working hard to make it easier for you to make the most of your coverage with us.

Here you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we get asked.


Who needs to be covered under WSIB?

It’s important to know that you are responsible for insuring anyone you employ in your business, including family. This includes full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary employees, students, apprentices, learners and training participants. It also means you — if you are an independent operator, sole proprietor, partner or executive officer in the construction industry. See mandatory coverage in the construction industry on the website for exceptions. You can also see policy 12-02-01 Workers and Independent Operators.


I paid my monthly premium based on my payroll, is it necessary to report my premiums as well?

Yes, reporting and paying premiums is a two-step process. You calculate and make your premium payment based on the gross payroll. Reporting your premiums means you are telling us your payroll information and the total of all insurable gross earnings for people who work for you that you are responsible for insuring, so we can record your payment against that premium.


Who do you consider a ‘principal,’ and who do you consider a ‘contractor’?

Any company that hires a person or another company to do work for them is called a ‘principal,’ the company being hired is called the ‘contractor.’ For example, if company A hires company B to provide janitorial services for them, company A is considered the principal, and company B is considered their contractor. If company B then hires company C to do a portion of the janitorial work, like window washing, then company B is considered both a principal and a contractor at the same time.

You are responsible for including the labour portion of your contractor’s contract as gross insurable earnings when you calculate your premium payment, if they do not employ others, and the WSIB does not consider this contractor to be an independent operator. Contact us to confirm their status and be sure to keep copies of WSIB letters of confirmation.


What’s a ‘clearance certificate’ and why do I need one?

Clearance certificates prove you have WSIB coverage and your account is up-to-date. Clearances are important if another business hires your business to do work for them, or their client. It enables them to avoid liability for any premiums you may owe related to work done for them.

Clearances are mandatory in construction, unless you are hired and paid directly by a home owner to do home renovation work only. A clearance is valid for up to 90 calendar days and is renewable.


What do I do if an injury or illness happens?

Each day across Ontario, people work in offices, construction sites, factories, warehouses and farms safely. But when a workplace incident happens, here are some suggestions.

Our 1-2-3-4 in case of injury poster outlines each of the steps, including providing first aid and paying for your employee’s transportation to health care, if required. You must also investigate and keep a record of what happened.

If your employee needs more than first aid, is absent from work, earns less than regular pay, or requires modified work for more than seven days, you are required to submit an Employer’s Report of Injury/Disease, also known as a Form 7, within three days of being notified of their injury or illness. It also means working together with us and your employee to help them recover and return to work safely and at the right time. For detailed information on injury or illness reporting see

If there is a fatal or catastrophic incident at your workplace, call 1 800 387 0750.


Learn more

We recently developed two guides — one for businesses and the other for your employees. For more information visit,

Sean Baird is the vice-president of employer services with the WSIB. Send comments and Industry Perspectives column ideas to

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