Workers’ Compensation Insurance Explained
In our line of work, we have ongoing discussions with the various Provincial Authorities that govern workers compensation insurance. Some provinces make it easy for organizations that hire external service providers to protect themselves and others...not so much.
The risk is real; most companies are required to register with their provincial Workers Compensation Insurance (WCI) program to insure their workers against injury. If you fail to register and your organization engages these companies for services, you could be deemed to be their worker’s direct employer while they are on your property. This means that if an uninsured service provider’s worker is injured while servicing your property, you could be held liable for their unpaid premiums, as well as their hospitalization, recovery and workforce re-integration costs.
At minimum, you should be requesting WCI Clearance Letters from all companies that provide services on your properties. In most provinces these letters have a period of validity attached, so they are easier to track and renew. Some provinces, however, issue clearance letters that are only valid as of the day they are requested. In these cases, we recommend you register with the provincial authority and develop a contractor listing with Advanced Vendor Notification (AVN). AVN registration provides you with immediate email notification on any changes in coverage status in your registered contractor list, and also indemnifies you against reprisal if a contractor should default.
Some provinces will permit you to register an “exempt” account (zero premium) for the purpose of creating clearances. Other provinces will require you to register a single “Directors” account (approx. $200/yr) before you can access their online services.
The best solution to risk mitigation is to register with the provincial authority in every province in which you own or manage properties. Another solution is to engage with a compliance aggregator (CertiSync) – a company that understands the requirements for each province and can help you set up your registered vendor listings.
If you prefer to manage your own WCI compliance, the map below contains links to each of the provincial WCI authorities and their respective processes for registration.