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Operational policy manual

Clearance Certificate

Employer Obligations
Application Date
This policy applies to all clearance certificate decisions made on or after January 1, 2013.
Employer Accounts
Clearance Certificate
Document No.


The WSIB issues a clearance certificate to relieve a principal of liability for payment obligations to the WSIB that a contractor or sub-contractor may incur with respect to a contract entered into between the principal and the contractor or subcontractor during the validity period of the certificate.


This policy describes how a clearance certificate protects the principal from a payment liability that the contractor or subcontractor may incur during the validity period of a certificate with the WSIB.




Principal - A person awarding or letting a contract to a contractor or a subcontractor.

Contractor and sub-contractor - A person providing contractual services to a principal. Contractors may themselves retain subcontractors, in which case the contractor becomes the principal in relation to the subcontractors.


For information on obtaining clearance certificates in construction, see 14-02-19, Clearance Certificate in Construction.


The business relationship between a principal and a contractor includes the relationship between a contractor (acting as a principal) and a subcontractor.  In this policy therefore, unless otherwise indicated, the term “contractor” includes “sub-contractor”.

This policy applies to all principals who let a contract to carry on a business activity in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2. It does not apply to householders who purchase services from a contractor.

A clearance certificate also confirms that a contractor or subcontractor is registered with the WSIB and that its account(s) is/are in good standing.

Accounts in good standing

A clearance certificate is issued if the following requirements are met.  If the contractor has more than one account, each account must meet these requirements before a certificate is issued for any of the accounts

  • the contractor has an open account with the WSIB
  • the contractor has completed and provided all required registration information and documents
  • the contractor’s declared business activities are classified in the proper classification units, see 14-01-01, The Classification Scheme
  • the contractor has reported appropriate premiums based on actual or estimated insurable earnings for all past reporting periods
  • all required Premium Remittance and Reconciliation forms are filed
  • all premiums and other amounts owing to the WSIB are paid up-to-date at the time the clearance certificate is requested.  In addition to premiums on insurable earnings, other amounts owing include interest, service charges, experience rating surcharges and other non-compliance charges.

Advance payment

Before a clearance is issued for a newly registered contractor, or to a principal for a newly registered contractor, the contractor must make an advance payment for the amount determined by the WSIB.

Principal’s liability

By issuing a clearance certificate, the WSIB waives its right to hold a principal liable for unpaid premiums and other amounts the contractor owes the WSIB, for the validity period of the certificate.

Limits to liability

If the contractor has payment obligations owing to the WSIB, the principal may be liable for the unpaid premiums and other outstanding amounts, up to the value of the labour portion of the contract(s) between the contractor and the principal.

Contractor’s obligations

A contractor must meet its registration, reporting and payment obligations to have its account in good standing.

Validity period

A clearance certificate is valid for up to 90 calendar days, depending on the date that it is issued, and is renewable.


Contractor’s account not in good standing

When a contractor’s account is not in good standing a clearance certificate may be issued if

Contractor’s account closed

Even though a contractor’s account is closed the contractor or the principal may request a clearance certificate throughout the time period of the contract. In these cases the WSIB may issue a letter relieving the principal of liability if

  • the contractor owes no premiums and/or other amounts to the WSIB, or
  • premiums and/or other amounts are owing, and the principal pays the amount due, up to the value of the premiums for the labour portion of the contract(s) between that principal and the contractor

If a clearance certificate is issued for an overdue account, or a letter waiving liability is issued for a closed account, the validity period is determined by the WSIB taking into account the circumstances of the case. 

Letter of credit

A contractor is permitted to post a letter of credit representing a disputed amount being appealed. A clearance certificate is issued when the contractor has complied with all the requirements listed in “Accounts in good standing” and the letter of credit for the disputed amount is posted to the account. For more information, see 14-04-05, Alternative Payment Arrangements.

Retaining a clearance

Paper copies of clearance certificates issued prior to January 17, 2011 must be retained for a period of three years.

Application date

This policy applies to all clearance certificate decisions made on or after January 1, 2013.

Document history

This document replaces 14-02-04 dated January 2, 2013.

This document was previously published as:

14-02-04 dated June 15, 2012

14-02-04 dated April 7, 2008

14-02-04 dated October 12, 2004

14-02-04 dated September 28, 2001

08-03-06 dated July 25, 1996.


Legislative authority

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended.

Section 141



#1, December 10, 2013, Page 514