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As of May 2007, many firms now qualify for a GoldStar Clearance, a new type of clearance that benefits subcontractors who have a good track record with WorkSafeBC, as well as the prime contractors who hire these firms.
Previously, clearances were typically provided for a past payroll period. Now, firms that qualify for a GoldStar Clearance will be automatically advanced a clearance to the start of the next quarter.
For a firm that has reported its payroll and paid its first quarter premiums, for example, a GoldStar Clearance would provide clearance to July 1, rather than April 1 as it would under the former system.
To qualify for GoldStar Clearance status, a firm must be up to date with payroll reporting and premium payments and must also have had an active registration with WorkSafeBC for at least 24 months in the last 36-month period.
Prime contractors frequently check the clearance status of their subcontractors to make sure subcontractors are reporting their payroll and making their payments to WorkSafeBC as required. This practice helps prime contractors to avoid potential financial liability under Section 51 of the Workers Compensation Act should their subcontractors default on their payments to WorkSafeBC.
When a prime contractor hires a firm that has GoldStar Clearance status, WorkSafeBC will honour the clearance addressed to that prime contractor to the date indicated on the clearance letter. This eliminates the onerous task of checking and re-checking clearances and reduces potential liability for the prime contractor during the period covered by the GoldStar Clearance.
Subcontractors are often required to present a clearance letter as part of a bid for work with a prime contractor.
When a subcontractor presents a GoldStar Clearance, it shows the prime contractor that it has clearance to a future date, which eliminates the need to provide additional clearances until the GoldStar Clearance expires. This reduces administration for the subcontractor.
Because GoldStar Clearances benefit prime contractors and subcontractors, they are expected to encourage firms to comply with reporting and remitting requirements. That means employers will be contributing on an equitable basis to the workers' compensation system — a benefit to everyone.