Purchasers of construction services – for your home

If you are hiring a business or contractor to do renovation work on your home or your cottage, they do not need coverage, and you do not need to get a clearance number.

If you, or a member of your family, is hiring and paying a contractor to do work on your private residence, then the work is considered exempt from Mandatory Coverage.

However, you will need to get a clearance number if you are hiring a business/contractor to do renovation work on:

  • An income property.
  • A home that you do not live in, but are fixing 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.

Why is a Clearance Number Important?

A clearance number proves that the business you have hired is properly covered by the WSIB. This means that the hiring party (you) is not liable for any unpaid premiums that the contractor should have paid to the WSIB.

What Happens if you Don’t have a Clearance Number, or the Clearance Number is No Longer Valid?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 (any work that isn’t exempt home renovation) without a valid clearance number is an offence under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act 1997.

A clearance number proves that the company/individual you have hired to do construction work is registered with the WSIB, and that their account is in good standing.

If you allow construction work to go ahead without a valid clearance number, you are committing an offence and  will be charged under the WSIA. The fine for the conviction of an offence under the WSIA is up to a maximum of $100,000.

You could also be liable to pay any unpaid premiums or other fees owed to the WSIB that your contractor should have paid on the work you hired them to do.

Get more information on Penalties and Fines.


What Should you do if your Contractor doesn’t have a Clearance Number?

If your contractor doesn’t have a clearance number you should refuse entry to the jobsite until a valid clearance number is in place.

How Can you Tell if a Clearance Number is Valid?

If you want to 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 your Contractor gives you an Independent Operator Letter that says He Doesn’t Need Coverage?

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

Have Questions?

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please see our FAQs, our Administrative Practice Documents, send us an email at needWSIBcoverage@wsib.on.ca or call us 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).