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Who is a worker?

2015 Reconciliation Guide
pdf for download
The WSIB sets an annual maximum for insurable earnings. For 2014, the annual maximum was $84,100.
For 2015, the annual maximum is $85,200.

The WSIB requires employers to report the earnings of all their workers.

Defining a worker

A worker is anyone you employ in your business under a contract of service or apprenticeship. In this relationship you, for example, set:

  • The nature and place of work
  • When it is performed, and
  • How it is performed.

In some cases an unpaid employee may still be considered a worker (e.g. training participant).

For information on training participants and domestic workers check Operational Policy Manual document 12-04-05, Coverage for Unpaid Trainees, and 12-04-14, Domestic Workers

Workers can be employed either full-time or part-time, including:

  • Seasonal, temporary or occasional employees*
  • Students, apprentices and learners
  • Training participants
  • Domestics workers working for you for more than 24 hours a week

Occasional/Casual Worker


 An occasional (or casual) worker is an individual who works occasionally i.e. less than part-time, and works on an irregular schedule. If such a worker is employed for the purposes of the employer’s industry, insurable earnings must be reported and premiums must be paid for the work performed. However, if such a worker is employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer’s industry, there is no need to report insurable earnings or remit premiums for the work performed.

For example, if an employer who operates a restaurant hires an additional cook during busy periods in the year, the insurable earnings of this worker must be reported and premiums paid for the work performed.

If the same employer hires a different worker to only clear snow around the building, on a less than part-time basis during the year, the employer is not required to report the earnings of this worker to the WSIB.


A family member, including spouse, children and other relatives, employed under a contract of service and receiving earnings is considered a worker. Their earnings must be included in the premium calculation.

Executive officers

The WSIB considers executive officers to be a select group of individuals who control the direction of the entire organization rather than just a department or branch. Title alone does not make an individual an executive officer. The key to executive officer status is that the person is empowered or appointed to act as an officer of the organization. If the individual is not empowered by the organization as an officer, the WSIB will not determine them to be an executive officer. The WSIB has the authority to determine who is an executive officer.

In order to determine if one (or more) of the individuals on your payroll is an executive officer, the WSIB will consider a number of factors, including whether the individual in question:

  • Holds a position (as corporate officer or director) and is named in your corporation's minute book as holding this position
  • Is enumerated, appointed or empowered through corporate documents such as Articles of Incorporation, Charters, by-laws, and/or Corporation Profile Reports filed with a federal or provincial agency to act as an officer
  • Does in fact perform the duties and executes the responsibilities of an executive officer, as defined by the WSIB, and
  • Has significant functional responsibilities demonstrating the individual is a 'directing mind' and/or is wholly or partially responsible for the organization as a whole

Executive officers are not automatically covered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) unless they are engaged in non-exempt construction work or apply for optional insurance.

An individual in construction who has an exemption under Operational Policy 12-01-06, Expanded Compulsory Coverage in Construction, may apply for optional insurance.

The WSIB has the authority to determine who is an Executive Officer. For a complete description of who qualifies as an Executive Officer for WSIB purposes go to: Operational Policy 12-03-03, Who Can Obtain Optional Insurance?

Contractors/Subcontractors who are not in the construction industry

For WSIB purposes, a contractor/subcontractor or owner operator, may be considered;

  • A worker
  • An independent operator and/or
  • An employer

If you're a contractor/subcontractor, and the WSIB confirms that you're considered to be a worker, you are automatically covered.

If you are a contractor/subcontractor, and the WSIB confirms that you are considered to be an independent operator, then you are not required to have insurance coverage with the WSIB (unless you are in the construction industry).

If you're a contractor/subcontractor who employs workers/helpers, then you are considered an employer and must be registered with the WSIB.

Request a Clearance if you retain a contractor/subcontractor. For more information about Mandatory Coverage in Construction or on Clearances, including obtaining a Clearance using online eClearance, visit the WSIB's website.

If you retain a contractor/subcontractor to perform a service and there is evidence that the contractor/subcontractor hires help, you should verify that the contractor/subcontractor working for you is registered with the WSIB and remains in good standing.

For the period being reconciled, you may have retained contractors who you considered as independent operators or employers in their own right. As a result, you may not have reported payments made to them as insurable earnings on your Premium Remittance forms. If you did not obtain rulings from the WSIB confirming independent operator status for these individuals, or did not obtain a clearance for those contractors/subcontractors who employ help or have optional insurance, the WSIB strongly encourages you to do so.

If the WSIB finds that these contractors/subcontractors were in fact your workers, unregistered employers, or registered employers not in good standing, you could be liable for premiums that are owed in connection with the work or service they performed on your behalf.

Construction: Deemed Workers

In the construction industry, independent operators, sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, and executive officers of a corporation are deemed workers for whom insurable earnings must be reported; except if they are exclusively performing exempt home renovation work or a partner or executive officer who has been granted an exemption from compulsory coverage by the WSIB.

Contractors who are workers of the Principal in Construction

When a principal hires an individual contractor to provide construction work, and this individual is not an independent operator in construction, the principal is the employer of this individual for all WSIB purposes.

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