Renovation contractors and their subtrades turned out in large numbers for mass protests in front of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Offices in Ottawa and Hamilton, ON, on Feb. 12 to protest the Ontario government’s new WSIB fee structure. As a result of the province’s controversial Bill 119, which went into effect Jan. 1, independent small business operators must now purchase WSIB insurance at rates that could drive them out of business.
Justin Dokter, a 24-year-old self-employed carpenter from the Hamilton area who was one of the main organizers of the protests, told Canadian Contractor that he would have to foist these mandatory new charges on his customers, since paying them himself is not an option. And that, he said, could put him out of work, especially given the cash competitors he has to bid against.
Before Ontario introduced Bill 119, independent contractors still had to be insured, but they could, as Dokter did, choose their own insurer. The mandatory new WSIB premiums range from 1 to 18 per cent of a worker’s insurable earnings. In his own case, “it’s 7 to 15 per cent of our gross income,” Dokter said.
Steve Payne – Canadian Contractor.ca – February 19, 2013.