Parties being Hired/Contractors and Subcontractors in Construction

As of January 1, 2013, almost everyone in the construction industry needs a clearance number, unless you do exempt home renovation work.

  • Hiring parties must ensure a clearance number is in place.
  • The party being hired must have WSIB coverage, and report and pay their premiums on time so they are eligible for a clearance number.
  • A clearance number must be in effect for the entire time the contractor or sub-contractor is performing the work.

Who is Considered the ‘Hiring Party’?

Anyone who purchases construction services from a contractor or subcontractor is considered the hiring party.

This means principals and general contractors – including those who are not in the construction industry. For example:

  • A restaurant owner hiring a construction company to do renovations on their restaurant is a hiring party.
  • A landlord hiring a contractor to build a new garage on a rental property is a hiring party.
  • A general contractor hiring a sub-contractor to help on a construction job is a hiring party.

Please note: Occupants of private residences (and their family members) who hire contractors to do home renovation work are not required to get a clearance number. For more information on this, please scroll down to the Exemption section.

Who is Considered the ‘Party Being Hired’?

A party being hired is a contractor or sub-contractor that is hired to do construction work.

Construction work means work performed in any of the industries listed in Class G – Construction in the WSIB’s Employer Classification Manual (ECM)

Why is a Clearance Number Important?

A clearance number proves that you/your business are properly covered by the WSIB.

This means that you, and any covered workers you may have, are protected and supported in the event of a work-related injury or illness.

What Happens if You Don’t have a Clearance Number, or the Clearance Number is No Longer Valid?

As of January 1, 2013, doing non-exempt construction work without a valid clearance number is an offence under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act 1997 (WSIA). These offences will be prosecuted as of January 1, 2014. The maximum fine for a conviction of an offence under the WSIA is $100,000.

So, if you don’t have a valid clearance number:

  • You could miss out on work because the hiring party can refuse to let you on the jobsite until you have one.
  • You and the party that hires you are committing an offence. These offences will be enforced as of January 1, 2014. The maximum fine for a conviction of an offence under the WSIA is $100,000.
  •  The company that hires you could also be liable to pay any unpaid premiums or other amounts that you owe to the WSIB for the work you are hired to do.

How Can you Tell if a Clearance Number is Valid?

If you want to obtain a clearance number or check on the status of a clearance number, you can go to the WSIB website and use our online clearance number service. You can enter the clearance number into the site, and our system will let you know whether or not it’s valid.

What if You have an Independent Operator Letter that says You Don’t Need Coverage?

The independent operator status letters in construction only applied until December 31, 2012. This means that you previously didn’t need coverage, but as of January 1, 2013, the rules have changed and you may now be required to have WSIB coverage.


Home Renovation Work

If you do renovation work on private residences or private cottages, you do not need to get a clearance number if you are hired and paid by the occupant or a member of their family.

If you are hired and paid by the occupant or a member of their family to do work on a private residence, then the work is considered exempt from Mandatory Coverage.

However, the exemption does not apply if you are hired to do renovation work on:

  • An income property.
  • Structures situated at the location of a private residence where the structures are used for commercial purposes, e.g.: a garage that is used to operate a motor vehicle repair business.
  • A home that the owner does not live in, but that is being fixed up to sell.
  • Building a new home.

If you are doing any of the work listed above you will need to make sure a valid clearance number is in place before any construction work can begin. All construction businesses/contractors doing this work must be registered with the WSIB and are required to provide clearance number certificates.

Work that isn’t Class G

If you do not do construction work listed in  Class G in the Employer Classification Manual, then you do not fall under Bill 119 Mandatory Coverage.

How to Get a Clearance Number

You can request and manage your clearance numbers 24/7 through our online clearance number service.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please give us a call Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 416-344-1000 or 1-800-387-0750 (TTY 1-800-387-0050).