Our November story on the new Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) changes for the construction industry elicited a lot of comments, questions and concerns about the impending changes. And we wanted to address them.
Despite these concerns, according to the Ministry of Labour senior communications advisor Bill Killorn, this new regulation, Bill 119, is about improving health and safety in the construction industry and reducing underground economic activity.
“We heard from stakeholders that the underground economy puts businesses that play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage,” he says. “With this legislation, Ontario will be better equipped to prevent workplace accidents and diseases.”
One reader asked: If the sole owner of a small limited company that does not employ workers is now required to pay dividends, is he now eligible to collect insurance if injured on a commercial site?
“Yes,” says Christine Arnott, WSIB spokesperson. “Once someone is registered with the WSIB, if they do get injured at work, they will have access to the broad range of benefits and services that the WSIB provides.”
- Wage loss benefits start the day after the injury
- Benefits include Loss of Retirement Income paid to injured workers from age 65
- All necessary and appropriate health care costs are covered
- Work reintegration and retraining services are available if needed
- Special allowances are paid to severely impaired workers including an Independent Living Allowance
- Survivor benefits can include lump sum and monthly awards for spouses and dependent children plus all reasonable expenses for funeral and burial services
- Access to construction-specific workplace health and safety training programs, products and services from Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA)
Another reader commented about private insurance compared to WSIB coverage: If they (WSIB) make it mandatory that we pay, I’m sure a good lawyer will be sure to make it mandatory that they pay. I have private policy that is way better and far less expensive.
“Cost of coverage will vary from company to company,” Arnott says.“The important thing is that we will be providing valuable workplace coverage for people in the construction industry.
“If business owners do get injured at work, they will have access to the broad range of benefits and services that the WSIB provides (listed above). We can’t speculate on the coverage that private insurers might provide or their rates.
Even if independent operators, sole proprietors, members of partnerships and executive officers of corporations already have private insurance, this new legislation, Bill 119, requires that they also have WSIB coverage.
“Private coverage does not replace this legal requirement for WSIB coverage,” Arnott states.
“The WSIB provides a competitive, but different no-fault insurance product that protects you from costly lawsuits and has predictable rates, tax-deductible premiums and reliable benefits. Benefits paid by the WSIB can be more comprehensive and cover a broader range of services than those included in most private insurance policies.”
For answers to your questions about the new mandatory WSIB coverage for construction, check out this FAQ page.
“WSIB coverage provides benefits that private insurance often does not,” Killorn says.
“Originally, this law, Bill 119, was introduced in 2008 and we’ve been working with the industry since then, doing calculations on this proposed legislation,” Killorn said.
“At the end of the day, it’s about protecting workers in the construction industry. We wanted everyone to be covered by the WSIB. It’s about keeping workers safe, and heaven forbid, if an accident should happen, they are covered by the WSIB.”