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Independent operator status

You may need to confirm your status as either an independent operator or an employee (worker) if a business who has hired you needs confirmation of their responsibility to report and pay for your WSIB coverage.  We may also need to confirm your status for coverage and benefit purposes.

We use a Determining Worker/Independent Operator Status questionnaire (PDF) to help us understand if a person is considered an:

If you work in construction, please see independent operators in construction, as you will have a different process.

FAQs

When do I complete a Determining Worker/Independent Operator Status questionnaire?

You should complete a questionnaire when the business who has hired you needs confirmation of their responsibility to report and pay for your WSIB coverage.  We may also need to confirm your status for coverage and benefit purposes.

If you don’t have employees and have been asked to show proof of WSIB coverage by a business you are doing work for, you should complete a questionnaire to determine your status.

If you’re hiring individuals/contractors you will need to complete a questionnaire to determine coverage.

How can I obtain a questionnaire?

Do I need to submit anything in addition to the questionnaire?

Depending on the industry that you work in, there are supporting documents that you may need to include:

  • copies of 3-5 recent invoices/contracts for different companies (to show that work is completed for more than one business)
  • copy of the individuals’ business registration or Certificate/Articles of Incorporation
  • HST number, if applicable
  • copies of recent purchase orders for materials that are supplied as part of the work performed (e.g. tools)
  • advertising material (e.g. business cards, website), if available
  • If you are in transportation, a copy of your vehicle ownership

This is not an exhaustive list.  Please see the industry specific questionnaire for more examples of supporting documentation.

The questionnaire must be signed by both you and the business you are doing work for.

What are some of the factors that we look at to make their decision?

We carefully review all materials submitted. We look at whether the information provided is more characteristic of the behaviour or situations of an employee (worker) or independent operator.  For example, if you are trained or supervised by an experienced employee of the business you are doing work for, this would be more characteristic of an employer-employee relationship. An independent operator would be more likely to use their own methods to complete the work.

We also look at factors such as the materials, tools, equipment you use. And, if there are any costs associated with doing the work, such as the cost of obtaining, maintaining, operating and repairing the materials, tools and equipment. We look at who pays for these costs and who makes the decisions about where the material is being purchased from. We consider the person’s ability to earn a profit or suffer a loss in the work they are doing.

In addition to the above-mentioned criteria, many more factors are used when making a decision regarding status. For more information, please see our policy on Workers and Independent Operators.

How will I know what decision was made?

Once we reach a decision about a person’s status, we send a letter to each person who signed the questionnaire – the individual as well as the business(es) they are completing work for.  The letter outlines their WSIB responsibilities resulting from the decision.

What does a ‘status ruling’ mean?

If you are considered an employee (worker), the business you are doing work for is responsible for providing coverage for you through the WSIB. The business will report and pay premiums for you. This status ruling is effective as of the start date of the working relationship, and the business may need to make retroactive premium payments.

If you are considered an independent operator, the business you are doing work for isn’t responsible for paying premiums on your earnings. In this case you can apply for optional insurance which provides coverage in case of a workplace injury or illness. Once you have optional insurance, you can get a clearance certificate, if your account is up to date.

If you enter a new business relationship with the same business in the future, you should notify us, as we may need to review the status ruling.

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