WSIB coverage mandatory to get some big contracts

Twice in the past week, I was asked if I had WSIB coverage. I do not. I’m an independant operator, and I spoke to WSIB. Since I don’t have employees, and my 1 subcontractrr passes the test of being a true subcontractee (registered with the governemnt with a business name, has his own customers, doesn’t wear my uniform, or use my tools, and is not trained by me or under constant sueprvision).

However, now that large customers are calling me thanks to my website, I have the potential of losing a lost of jobs with not having WSIB coverage.

They don’t agree that I’m exempt, and they can’t get permission to work with our company. Right now I’m on the verge of getting a huge contract and that is an issue with him as well.

I just spoke to WSIB and they said I could voluntarily register with them. For a low rate of $16 per $100 of gross revenue. I’m considering doing that, but I would have to raise my rates about 16% to make up with the increased C.O.D. Registering with them would give me a WSIB clearance that I could use to secure those contracts. And perhaps I could use WSIB registeration as a way to differentiate myself form the competition.


Some time ago I emailed you some info on my Blue Cross disability plan. They are able to draw up a document for you stating you are covered if injured on the job. According to my agent, this document is acceptable where WSIB is normally required.

Mike, considering that most ‘big’ jobs are handled by ‘bigger’ window cleaning companies registered with WSIB, I’m not sure registering with WSIB would benefit you (make you stand ahead of the competition) that much.

He may have meant it would benefit him with the smaller jobs. He’ll have to raise his prices by 16% across the board, since they want 16% of your gross income. By stating that he’s WSIB registered, they may not complain about the price jump. New clients may feel at ease paying a slightly higher price knowing that he’s registered, too.

Maybe you could form a division of your current company that would handle the large jobs. Then you could just bid the large jobs 16% higher.

I have faced something similar to that here. Being that I have no employees the state of Idaho does not require that I have workmans comp. but some of the CCU jobs I done the contractor’s insurance requires that everyone on their site have it. I have gone several rounds with a couple of contractors about this. What I have done is tell them the state doesn’t require it of me, but if you do them you will pay for it, in Idaho you can pay per month, so I charge them for that month’s payment. After the job I drop the Worksmans comp. the state then sends me a letter asking why I dropped it with a return form, I fill in my company name, contact info and check two boxes then send it back. I’m not sure if Canada will allow you to do something like that, but that’s what I do.

pain in the pa-tooty…
Idea, create a separate company just for the WSIB junk, invoice them under that contract name and only pay on those WSIB jobs. The rest work under your original name.

This is separate company, and jobs under that company, you can effectivly sub yourself out then to do that job/jobs. WSIB sucks only the lifeblood money from those contracts and does not get to sink their miserable teeth into any other well deserved and honest profits, so not to inflate the already inflated golden parachutes on Parliament Hill or Queens Park!

And well yes, Blue Cross or State Farm can give you the same coverage. I will be switching to State Farm for the Disability, as they offer better coverage if you have been in business longer than ONE/ 1 year.

sorry for the rant but wsib, sucks…

Good idea, but I don’t think I’ll do that, I want to keep things as simple as possible, since before this I had one incorporated and a registered company. Although I had an accountant, it was still a pain in the neck to run two different companies. I want to keep everything under the same umbrella. So I’ll probably go with Mark’s idea and get disability insurance, and use a waiver or letter from Blue Cross when asked for WSIB.

If you want to go for some of these contracts, you have to live up to their requirements. If I were you, and did not have employees, I would sub out these contracts to someone else until I was in a position to service them.
WSIB is a pain, but if there is an accident, you’ll be glad you have it.

Hey John :slight_smile:

Do you often get asked if you have WSIB coverage for large bids?

Mike, welcome to the world of being perceived as “legit” by the big boys.

WSIB is a money-making business, designed to separate business owners like you and me from as much money as possible, and it is very very expensive, at the 16% rate as you said.

I hope your idea with swapping the Blue Cross things works, but I really doubt it will carry any merit with most prospective clients that you are soliciting.

They have in-house policies regarding this stuff, and they don’t deviate. You play by the rules or you’re disqualified, end of story. (in my experience, anyway, if you’re talking about medium to large commercial clients)

It is very frustrating and profit-sucking, and I’m sorry that you are now getting a taste of it. Wait till you have to start paying more taxes then your employees on [I]their [/I]wages. That really makes you sad.

That’s why you have to charge more when you’re bigger, if you play by the rules.

And I also agree that there is no differentiation by bragging about WSIB, unless you are competing against hacker competitors.

As an aside, sometimes you can simply explain that as a one-man corporation, you are exempt from WSIB, since you are the Director (or CEO, President, whatever)

All Directors are exempt, if they wish.

Sometimes that will help.

Im quite sure that WSIB in Ontario anyways will give you a letter stating you are exempt If you have no employees its a certain number form

Would they want to hire someone who’s “exempt” though, even if it’s perfectly acceptable to WSIB?

From the contractor’s viewpoint, the point behind being covered is… you’re covered. If you’re not and you have an accident, you may turn around and sue the construction company (or whoever is hiring you) for your coverage; if you have WSIB there’s less likelihood anything will come out of their pocket should there be an incident. They are just covering their own butts by demanding anyone and everyone working on their site is covered. It would likely be a nightmare trying to keep track of who’s covered and who’s not if this guy was but that guy wasn’t. Easier to just say “everybody”, no exceptions. Particularly if the vast majority of the workers they hire are big enough to fall under WSIB anyway.

That said, if you have a large number of accounts that don’t require WSIB (one-man residential jobs or ground-level only jobs) it’s kinda expensive to chew up 16% of your total income on those to keep the occasional CCU happy.

It may be a lot less expensive to hire that accountant to keep track of the two entities than throw that 16% away on all those other jobs. Unless you think it will be a breeze to tack another 16%+ on the residentials to cover their WSIB fees. (and you should be tacking 16% PLUS a bit more to cover extra accounting, overhead, etc. so likely closer to 20%)

I’d be pulling out the calculator and letting the numbers decide - or at least heavily influence - not wether I’d be a little inconvenienced by the separate tracking. Giving up 16% of your income is not chump change.

when i started my business in 2006 I did apply for WSIB, but being a one man show they sent me a letter declining me because it was not necessary. I have never had an issue with larger jobs on account of this where they ask, i just explain, and show them that my Insurance policy has me covered. Of course, i’m in North Bay, and i’m guessing alot of the jobs even though large may be small in comparison to some of the jobs you may be bidding on Mike.