Starting January 1, 2014, construction independent operators (IOs) who are required to register with the WSIB but have not done so may face non-compliance charges. Also as of January 1, 2014, anyone who hires an IO to do construction work, and fails to obtain a valid clearance from the IO before any construction work begins, may face prosecution. The penalty for individuals is $25,000. The penalty for corporations is $100,000. In addition to penalties, premiums will be retroactively assessed to the date the IO should have registered with the WSIB, which is January 1, 2013 for most people.
Employers who are registered with the WSIB can use the WSIB’s eClearance system to easily check the validity of a potential contractor’s clearance, and manage its list of contractors. It also allows contractors to obtain specific principal-contractor clearances.
Principals who are exempt from registration, i.e., home renovators who perform exclusively home renovation work for home owners, do not have full access to the WSIB’s eClearance system because they do not have an account with the WSIB. Those principals must get clearances directly from each contractor/tradesperson. As each clearance must include the principal’s name, the contractor needs to log in to the WSIB’s eClearance system, do an “advanced search” to see if the Principal’s name appears, and enter the principal’s name onto the clearance manually, if it does not. The principal does not need to have a WSIB account in order to have his/her name added to the clearance. If you have any problems with this process, call the WSIB at 416-344-4122, or 1-888-243-1569, and ask the WSIB representative to walk you through this process.
A clearance is valid for up to 90 days, with four “predictable renewal dates”: February 20th, May 20th, August 20th, and November 20th. All clearances expire on those four dates each year. An employer must keep all clearances for at least three years, and will be asked to provide them to the WSIB if an audit takes place.