Benefits and costs of workplace safety and insurance

Region: Ontario Answer # 644

Registering with the WSIB

Most employers in Ontario have an obligation to register for Workplace Safety and Insurance coverage with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 10 days of hiring their first employee. Even if an employer contracts out work, they may be responsible for Workplace Safety and Insurance premiums for contractors, sub-contractors and their employees, if the contractor or subcontractor defaults in their premium payments to the Board. Employers can register their business online at the WSIB.

Mandatory registration for construction industry

For anyone who is an independent operator, sole proprietor, partner or executive officer and works or carries on a business in construction, Workplace Safety and Insurance coverage is required by law and registration is mandatory. The legislation does not apply, however, to people who work as employees of construction-related firms.

Employers who do not pay premiums

Not every employer is required to be registered with the WSIB. Each province and territory sets the criteria for employers exempted from premiums or registering with their Workers’ Compensation Board or Commission. Most public sector employers engaged in inter-provincial transportation and communication do not pay premiums and, instead, are directly responsible for all the costs of an injured worker’s claim plus the payment of an administration fee to the WSIB. These employers include governments, Crown corporations, telephone companies and railways.

Benefits of paying employer premiums

Private sector employers are obligated to pay Workplace Safety and Insurance premiums to insure employees for work-related injuries and disease. Most public sector employees, including the provincial and municipal governments, do not pay premiums but pay benefits under the legislation directly to employees. Public and private sector employers, covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, cannot be sued for work-related injury or disease.

Costs of paying employer premiums

The costs for most employers are the premiums set each year by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Premium Rating System and Payment Process

On January 1, 2020, WSIB changed the way premium rates were set to reflect an individuals claims experience and risk. Previously the WSIB used three experience rating programs. Which program was used was based on the type of employer and the amount of premiums paid. Under these programs, an employer’s premiums could increase or decrease, depending on the number of accident claims, the cost of claims, or both.

The previous programs were: 1. MAP Program:  Premiums less than $25,000 / 2. NEER Program: Non-construction employers, premiums over $25,000 / 3. CAD-7 Program: Construction employers, premiums over $25,000.

The new premium rating system is a prospective rate-setting approach instead of a retrospective rate-setting approach, meaning that an individual claims experience will be factored in when premium rates are set. The new two step process involves:

  • setting an average rate for each industry class based on their risk profile and share of responsibility to maintain the insurance fund, and
  • studying how an individual claim history compares to the rest of the businesses in their class.

For 2020 and forward, WSIB will use the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), to categorize businesses, scaling down from approximately 200 rate groups to 34 classes/subclasses. Visit wsib.ca for more information on the new premium and payment system.

More info

Visit wsib.ca for more information on transitioning from the previous experience rating programs to the new premium rating system.

For more information about the benefits or costs to employers, or if you need to register you can contact a lawyer, call the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, or visit the WSIB website.


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