WorksafeBC’s Surprise For Homeowners

By Alfred Kempf
Categories: Blog, Employment Law

I was alarmed to learn that WorksafeBC is of the view that that a homeowner who hires a person to do a project that will take more than 24 man (person) hours must register with the WCB and pay premiums with respect to the work.  If the homeowner fails to do so he or she could be liable for the cost of the claim should a worker be injured. This could be a substantial amount of money.  So, if you hire some high school kids to remove some shrubs and it takes four of them more than six hours, you need to register and pay premiums according to WCB interpretation of policy.

WorksafeBC says that you can avoid registration if the worker(s) you hire is (are) registered with the Board.  Individuals (proprietors) however are not required to be registered.  To make matters worse not all incorporated companies are registered.  The homeowner is expected to obtain a clearance letter to verify the registration before any work is done to be protected from claims.  There is an online process for doing this – you will need the contractor/worker’s registration number:

https://online.worksafebc.com/anonymous/employer%20clearance%20letter/default.aspx

If you have been caught in a situation like this WorksafeBC’s interpretation of who is an employer is still subject to appeal as its definition would seem to be rather aggressive.

The following link provides WorksafeBC’s interpretation of legislation and policy related to all manner of issues related to employing people in and around the home.  I recommend that you read it.

http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/emp_05.asp

Alf Kempf can be reached by phone at (250) 869-1215, or by email at kempf@pushormitchell.com