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Entertainment industry insurance coverage

If you are in the business of producing motion picture, television, commercial, or theatrical productions here are some important things you need to know about insurance coverage with the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Insurance coverage

Actors, performers, technical crew members and production office staff, hired by motion picture, television, commercial or theatrical companies are not automatically covered by the WSIB unless the production/theatre company has voluntarily applied for coverage with the WSIB.

Over the past few years there has been some confusion about who is insured and who is not insured by the WSIB when a production/theatre company voluntarily obtains WSIB insurance coverage. Here are some details.

Actors and performers

Recent changes to WSIB policy allow production / theatre companies to include or exclude ALL of their actors and performers from WSIB insurance coverage when an application for coverage is made. This change is effective April 1, 2001.

  • In 1995, insurance coverage was extended to include actors and performers. Actors, performers and technical crew members of a production / theatre company were insured once the WSIB accepted the company’s application for coverage.
  • For 20 years before 1995, the WSIB did not insure actors and performers under any circumstances.

Technical crew members

For the purposes of WSIB coverage, one-person technical crew members (e.g. sole proprietorships and incorporated companies), whether unionized or not, are considered workers of the production/theatre company that hires them. 

  • A crew member’s status with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has no bearing on his or her status with the WSIB.
  • Production / theatre companies are required to include the earnings of all their technical crew members when reporting and paying premiums to the WSIB. Crew members may continue to invoice as sole proprietors or as incorporated companies.

Stunt performing - a key exception

The WSIB does not extend coverage, under any circumstances, to stuntpersons, and/or any actors or performers who do their own stunts as negotiated in their contracts.

  • A stuntperson is considered by the WSIB to be a performer who is specially trained and knowledgeable in the engineering of and the performance of stunt work.
  • The term stunt (as generally understood in the industry) relates to any activity that is:
    • not normally executed by the average person, or person without special training, and
    • if performed incorrectly would most likely result in bodily injury.

Employer obligations

  • Employers must retain and submit, upon request, employee records that can be verified by WSIB staff. 
  • Employers must report and pay premiums, report work-related injuries, and are expected to fulfil all WSIB obligations for those workers receiving insurance coverage.

Benefits of WSIB insurance coverage

  • No fault insurance system 
  • Comprehensive benefits at a very competitive price
  • Focused on prevention and health & safety
  • Access to health & safety training and resources through the health & safety associations
  • Dedicated service teams

Cancellation of WSIB coverage

The WSIB may cancel application coverage when the employer has not met payment and/or reporting requirements, or if we get no reply to communication attempts when:

  • premium or other payments are overdue
  • the reconciliation form has not been submitted
  • the WSIB has issued more than one provisional premium
  • the WSIB discovers the employer's reporting obligation has stopped (i.e. the business has terminated, is in bankruptcy or receivership, or is no longer employing workers)
  • the employer cannot be located
  • mail is returned to the WSIB and no alternative address can be obtained

Cancellation of your workplace insurance coverage means that your workers will no longer be eligible for health care and loss of earnings and other benefits afforded by the WSIB’s insurance plan.  As well, it may mean that if injured on the job, your workers may have the right to take legal action for damages.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) plays a key role in the province’s occupational health and safety system. Funded by employers, the WSIB is one of the top 10 disability insurers in North America. In addition to a strong prevention mandate, the WSIB provides insurance for injuries and illnesses incurred in workplaces covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and supports early and safe return to work for injured workers.

Pour obtenir un exemplaire en français, composez le 1-800-387-0750.

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