Hiring Party/Purchasers of Construction Services
Starting January 1, 2013, almost everyone in the construction industry needs a clearance number, unless the work that is being done is home renovation work.
Hiring parties must ensure a clearance number is in place.
The party being hired must have WSIB coverage, and report and pay their premiums on time so they are eligible for a clearance number.
A clearance number must be in effect for the entire time the contractor or sub-contractor is performing the work.
Who is Considered the ‘Hiring Party’?
Anyone who purchases construction services from a contractor or subcontractor is considered the hiring party.
This means principals and general contractors – including those who are not in the construction industry. For example:
A general contractor hiring a sub-contractor to help on a construction job is a hiring party.
A restaurant owner hiring a construction company to do renovations on their restaurant is a hiring party.
A landlord hiring a contractor to build a new garage on a rental property is a hiring party.
A municipality, university or other institution hiring a contractor/subcontractor to do construction work is a hiring party.
Please note: Occupants of private residences (and their family members) who hire contractors to do home renovation work are not required to get a clearance number. For more information on this, please scroll down to the Exemption section.
Who is Considered the ‘Party being Hired’?
A party being hired is a contractor or sub-contractor that is hired to do construction work.
Construction work means work performed in any of the industries listed in Class G – Construction in the WSIB’s Employer Classification Manual (ECM)
Why is a Clearance Number Important?
A clearance number proves that the business you have hired is properly covered by the WSIB. This means that the hiring party (you/your company) is not liable for any unpaid premiums that the contractor/subcontractor should have paid to the WSIB.
What Happens if You Don’t have a Clearance Number, or the Clearance Number is No Longer Valid?
As of January 1, 2013, doing non-exempt construction work without a valid clearance number is an offence under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act 1997 (WSIA). These offences will be prosecuted as of January 1, 2014. The maximum fine for a conviction of an offence under the WSIA is $100,000.
You/your company could also be liable to pay any unpaid premiums or other fees owed to the WSIB that your contractor should have paid on the work you/your company hired them to do.
How can You tell if a Clearance Number is Valid?
If you want to request a clearance number or check on the status of a clearance number, visit the WSIB website and use our online clearance number service. You can enter the clearance number into the site, and our system will let you know whether or not it’s valid.
What if your Contractor gives You an Independent Operator Letter that says He Doesn’t Need Coverage?
The independent operator status letters in construction only applied until December 31, 2012. This means that your contractor previously didn’t need coverage, but as of January 1, 2013, the rules have changed and they may now be required to have WSIB coverage.
Home Renovation Work
If you or a member of your family hire and pay a contractor to do work on your private residence or private cottage, then the work is considered exempt from Mandatory Coverage.
However, the exemption does not apply if you hire a contractor to do renovation work on:
An income property.
Structures situated at the location of a private residence where the structures are used for commercial purposes, e.g.: a garage that is used to operate a motor vehicle repair business.
A home that you don’t live in but are fixing up to sell.
Building a new home.
If you are hiring someone to do any of the work in the list above you will need to make sure a valid clearance number is in place before any construction work can begin. All construction businesses/contractors doing this work must be registered with the WSIB and are required to provide clearance number certificates. A valid clearance number must be in place for the entire time the contractor/subcontractor is doing the construction work
Planning a renovation? Updating the kitchen or bathroom? Adding new lighting? If your project involves new electrical wiring or devices, or repairing/replacing old ones, you need to know your obligations under Ontario law.
1 Follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
2 Take out a permit
3 Get it inspected
4 Hire only Licensed Electrical Contractors
Electrical installation, repair and replacement work needs to be done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. The Code specifies how electrical work must be done. The Code is updated every three years to address emerging technology and improvements in safety practices. Always refer to the current edition of the Code. Purchase a Code book.
To confirm whether the Code applies to the work you’re planning, call 1-877-372-7233.
An electrical permit needs to be taken out before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts.
If you’re doing the electrical work, you need to take out the permit. If you hire someone, they must take out the permit. Do not take out a permit on behalf of a contractor or anyone else. Learn more about who is allowed to do electrical work in your home.
Electrical permits are not the same as a building permit. If you have a building permit, it doesn’t mean you have an electrical permit.
The fee for an electrical permit varies according to the type of work being done. Find out more about electrical permit fees.
To confirm permit requirements and to get your permit, call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
ESA’s expert Inspectors will review the electrical work, sometimes at multiple stages if it’s complicated. If the work isn’t done in compliance with the Code, he or she will issue a defect notice which outlines what corrections must be made.
Once the inspection is complete, whoever took out the permit receives an ESA certificate of inspection. If your contractor took out the permit, get a copy of the certificate for your records from him or her prior to settling your bill. You can also call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) for a copy.
Licensed Electrical Contractors
If you are hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor.* Learn more about how Licensed Electrical Contractors help keep you and your family safe, and how they can save you time and money.
General handymen and other service providers cannot do electrical work in residences unless they hold a Licence. If you hire a general contractor, confirm that the electrical work will be done by a licensed subcontractor.
A Licensed Electrical Contractor is required to display their ESA/ECRA licence number. Ask to see it
Ontario toll-free number
to report workplace health and safety incidents or unsafe work practices.
The public can also call that number if they suspect unsafe work practices or for general inquiries.
The number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Allows anyone, anywhere in Ontario to call one number to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality or work refusal.