WorkSafe BC

Worker's Compensation Coverage:

Who Needs Coverage and the Consequence of not Registering with WorkSafeBC

You are legally required to register for insurance coverage with WorkSafe BC if you are an employer who hires one or more workers and pays them on a full-time, part-time, casual or contract basis. Most employers are required by law to register their business/firm with WorkSafe BC and pay premiums. Registration of employers is legislated by the Workers Compensation Act.

Obtaining coverage is more than just a legislated requirement. When you are covered by WorkSafe BC insurance, you are protected against lawsuits from injured workers. If a worker is injured or contracts an occupational disease while on the job during the course of employment, WorkSafe BC covers the worker's medical and wage-loss costs. Workers are automatically protected under the Act and cannot register for WorkSafe BC insurance coverage.

Registration for homeowners and residents
When you hire someone to work in your home to meet personal and/or domestic needs, you are considered a residential employer. Whether you hire the worker on a full-time, part-time, or casual basis, you may need to register for WorkSafe BC insurance coverage if you hire:

  • Nannies, companions, or other personal caregivers
  • Domestic workers such as household cleaners

You do not need to register if you hire a person:

  • For an average of less than eight working hours per week
  • For a specific job to be completed in less than 24 working hours
  • To care for children before and after school for an average of less than 15 hours/week
  • Through an agency registered with WorkSafeBC, where you pay the agency directly
  • If you hire a person who is independently registered with WorkSafe BC

When you hire people to work in or around your home, ask them whether they carry their own insurance coverage. If they do, ask them for their WorkSafe BC account numbers. Double-check their information by requesting an online clearance letter from WorkSafe BC before they begin working for you and before you make a final payment. A clearance letter gives you assurance that you won't be held responsible for someone else's payments to WorkSafe BC.

The law requires WorkSafe BC to compensate injured workers - even when employers have not registered with WorkSafe BC. If a homeowner does not register with WorkSafe BC and pay premiums when required, the results could be costly. WorkSafe BC may charge the homeowner for all compensation costs and unpaid premiums.

Consequences of not registering

Protect yourself
If you fail to register for insurance coverage with WorkSafe BC when required, you could put yourself at considerable financial risk. If a worker you've hired gets injured on the job and you're not registered as required, you could be held liable for all compensation costs associated with the claim and for your unpaid premiums.

It is against the law to avoid registering when it is required under the Workers Compensation Act.

Registering with WorkSafe BC

How do I register for insurance coverage?

Complete the online registration application - the fastest method to register. You can also register by mail or fax: download the registration application form (PDF 64kb). WorkSafe BC will review your application. If you're eligible to register, and you've provided all the necessary information, you will receive your account number and information in the mail.

Next Steps
When you submit your registration, WorkSafe BC will review your application to determine:

  • If you are required, or permitted, to register as an independent firm (or employer) or as a labour contractor
  • Your classification
  • Effective date of your registration
  • The date from which you will pay premiums

If you register using the online application:
You will be assigned an Internet Registration Confirmation Number (IRCN) at the end of the online session. Your permanent WorkSafe BC account number will be e-mailed to you and a confirmation letter will follow by mail.

If you register by mail or fax:
You will receive a letter confirming your registration.

What does "your classification" mean? Classification is the category that describes the work that your employees will be doing. Classifications have varying rates attached to them for the purposes of determining your premium. WorkSafe BC groups employers in similar industries with similar levels of risk in order to establish industry standards. How you describe the work that your employees will do is directly associated with the premium that you will pay, so it is important that you describe the work accurately.

Regardless of whether you register online or by mail or fax, you may be contacted by WorkSafe BC for clarification or if additional information is needed.

Once you are registered you are assigned an insurance rate. Each year, you'll report your payroll and pay your premiums.

Note: All information is taken from 2009 WorkSafe BC (the Worker's Compensation Board of British Columbia) website, See WCB website for complete information.

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