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New rule calls for mandatory coverage in construction industry

By Mari-Len De Guzman

A new legislation in Ontario will require mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for all businesses in the construction industry. The new Mandatory Coverage in the Construction Industry, an amendment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, will take effect January 2013.

Currently, most businesses in Ontario that employ workers are covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Under the new legislation, however, independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership and some executive officers who work in construction will also be required to have WSIB coverage starting in 2013.

The new rules will improve health and safety in the construction sector and ensure everyone is paying their fair share under the collective liability system, according to statement from the WSIB.

“In exchange for their tax-deductible premiums, everyone covered by WSIB insurance has access to WSIB programs and services along with the security of knowing that they won’t have to go without income if they get hurt on the job,” the WSIB said.

By 2013, independent operators, executive officers and partners in a partnership working in construction who have no workers will need to have WSIB coverage. Businesses affected by this new rule can choose to pre-register now for coverage that will take effect in 2013. Pre-registration is free and there are no premiums to pay until 2013.

Executive officers, partners and sole proprietors who are already registered with the WSIB, and those who have WSIB optional insurance do not have to pre-register.

Starting in January 2012, WSIB will launch a year-long education campaign to make sure that everyone affected by Mandatory Coverage in the Construction Industry knows about the changes and what they will mean.

The WSIB has already rolled out a suite of eServices to make it easier for people operating in the construction industry to register and do business with the agency. It has also posted a FAQ section on its website for questions regarding the new legislation.

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