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Protecting domestic workers with workplace injury insurance

Who are domestic workers?

Domestic workers generally work in private homes or in residences of religious clerics and provide a variety of services to householders.

Domestics include people who do the following jobs:

  • babysitter, nanny, or nursemaid
  • bodyguard
  • butler
  • chauffeur
  • cleaning person
  • companion (except attendants)*
  • cook
  • gardener
  • handy person
  • housekeeper
  • maid

* This does not include a person who works as an attendant. * See the section called Who are attendants and are they covered?, on the next page.

I employ domestic help in my home. What are my responsibilities?

If you have a domestic who works more than 24 hours per week for your household you must:

  • register with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) within 10 days of hiring the person
  • report their earnings
  • pay premiums to cover workplace insurance coverage
  • report any work-related injuries to the WSIB.

Another family and I share a domestic. What happens?

Shared employment of a domestic occurs when all of the following conditions are met:

  • work is performed for more than 24 hours per week,
  • work is performed for more than one household, and
  • for at least part of the time, work is performed for more than one household at the same time.

When all of these conditions are met, all of the householders, together, are considered the employer. They must get WSIB coverage for the domestic under a single account.

For example: Two families employ a babysitter who works for Family A for 15 hours and Family B for 12 hours for a total of 27 hours.  For 6 of those hours, the babysitter cares for the children of both families at the same time. Both Family A and Family B together are considered the employer and must register with the WSIB under a single account.

What are the details about the 24 hours a week rule?

  • Coverage is mandatory when private householders employ domestics and they work on average for more than 24 hours per week.
  • If you employ a domestic for 24 hours or less per week it is not mandatory for you to provide coverage, but the domestic may apply to the WSIB for their own coverage, which is called optional insurance.

What are the reasons I would get workplace insurance coverage for my domestic?

  • It’s the law. In Ontario we aim to have a safe and healthy work environment for our workers.  To provide benefits in case of injury at work, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (the Act) by law protects most domestic workers in Ontario.
  • It’s the right thing to do. If injured at work the domestic would be entitled to insurance benefits and services including income replacement, health care and help in returning to work. 
  • Having coverage protects you from lawsuits in case a domestic is injured on the job.

What are the benefits of WSIB insurance coverage?

  • No-fault insurance protection from lawsuits for work-related injuries
  • Comprehensive benefits at a very competitive price
  • Access to information and training on how to work safely and avoid costly workplace injuries
  • Personal service from trained staff in communities across Ontario
  • Service in a wide variety of languages

Who are attendants and are they covered?

  • An attendant includes a companion who provides any form of physical or personal care such as grooming or bathing.  These services may include domestic work as an incidental activity.
  • A private individual who directly employs an attendant to provide personal or physical care to persons such as someone elderly, ill or who has special needs is not required to register as an employer with the WSIB. 
  • The private individual may apply for coverage on a voluntary basis. If the private individual does not apply for coverage, then attendants may apply to the WSIB for their own optional insurance coverage.

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. The WSIB administers no-fault workplace insurance for employers and their workers and is committed to the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses. The WSIB provides disability benefits, monitors the quality of healthcare, and assists in early and safe return to work for workers who are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease.

For help with workplace safety call 1-800-663-6639. To register as an employer or report a workplace injury call 1-800-387-0750/416-344-1000

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

For help in another language call 1-800-387-0750. Telephone device for the deaf – TTY: 1-800-387-0050 

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