Do you need coverage?
If you own a business:
The requirement to have workplace insurance depends on the type of
business. Businesses that hire workers (full-time, part-time, casual
or contract) are required by law to register with WorkSafeBC.
If you own an incorporated company
names such as Co., Company, Ltd., Limited, Inc. or Incorporated) and employ workers:
are required by law to register with WorkSafeBC.
- Incorporated companies differ from unincorporated companies because
the shareholders, directors, officers of the corporation and principals
(officers who also own shares in the corporation) who have any degree
of activity in the operation are considered to be workers, and as
such, are entitled to compensation. They cannot purchase Personal
Optional Protection, WorkSafeBC's optional insurance plan. Therefore,
principals of corporations must register their companies and declare
the number of principals/active shareholders and their total earnings.
- If a principal is injured and the incorporated company was not registered, the claim will be rejected unless the person can demonstrate that he/she was not personally responsible for registering the corporation. However, injured workers other than officers of the company can still file a claim.
- The only exception to mandatory registration for an incorporated
company is when the corporation is deemed a "personal service corporation".
This is when no other help is employed and, but for the incorporation,
the principal clearly falls into the worker category. The exception
also applies to situations in which there is a degree of common ownership
between two companies and the sole function of the principal firm
is to provide labour to another firm's operations (e.g. administration
or management function).
If you are an employer who hires one or more workers on a full-time, part-time, casual or contract basis:
You are legally required to register
for insurance coverage with WorkSafeBC. For example:
- If you are a general contractor who employs workers or hires labour
contractors who don't carry their own workplace insurance coverage,
you are required to register.
- If you are a general contractor who subcontracts all work to independent
firms or to labour contractors who have their own workplace insurance
coverage, registration may still be mandatory. Contact the Employer
- If your subcontractor is registered but not making payments to WorkSafeBC
as required, you could be liable for insurance premiums owing in connection
with the work or service being performed on your behalf. If you're
not registered, and your subcontractor's account isn't up to date,
or if the subcontractor misrepresents its registration (i.e. if WorkSafeBC
considers the subcontractor to be a worker), you could also be liable
for the costs of a claim should someone be injured on the job. For
your own protection, it's good practice to request
a clearance letter. This will tell you whether a business, contractor
or subcontractor is registered with WorkSafeBC and up to date on its
If you or your workers are from outside the province:
- Hiring out-of-province workers — If you are a B.C. employer and
you hire workers from B.C. or another province or jurisdiction to
work in B.C., you must register for coverage with WorkSafeBC. If you
don't register and one of your workers is injured on the job, you
could be liable for any claim costs arising from injuries.
- Working outside of B.C. — If you obtain a contract in another province
or country, you should check your registration requirements with the
Workers' Compensation Board in the jurisdiction in which you will
If a B.C. worker is injured while working in another province, WorkSafeBC
will cover the workers' medical and wage loss costs if
- The worker's employer is located in B.C.
- The worker's residence and usual place of employment are in B.C.
- The employment is such that the worker is required to work both
in and out of the province
- The worker is still working for the same B.C. employer and will
return to B.C. in less that six months
- Out-of-province firms working in B.C. — Registration is required for firms located in another province that:
- Come to B.C. and hire B.C. workers
- Intend to work a total of 15 or more days a year in B.C. using
only out-of-province workers
- Work a total of 10 or more days in B.C. during three or more visits
in the year
- Note: there are special requirements for out-of-province trucking
If you operate a commercial fishing vessel:
- The first commercial fish buyer purchasing fish from commercial
fishermen is required to register and pay premiums to WorkSafeBC.
- If the fish isn't sold to a commercial buyer registered with WorkSafeBC,
the person who engaged the master or crew of the fishing boat, or
the person or organization that transmitted the crew share of the
sales, must register and pay premiums to WorkSafeBC. This may be the
vessel owner, master, charterer, or the person or organization that
controls or decides where the fish is sold.
If you have any of the following types of business, you are not required
to have workplace insurance coverage with WorkSafeBC, but may want to
check whether you are eligible for Personal
- If you own an unincorporated business and don't employ workers
- You own an incorporated personal financial holding company, don't
employ workers, and the principal shareholders are not considered
workers of the company. In this case, the activities of your company
are restricted to the management of personal investments such as:
- Investments in publicly-traded stocks and bonds
- Interest bearing financial instruments such as Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
- Non-revenue producing land, buildings and/or equipment where there is no development, construction or direct rental activity
Homeowners and B.C. residents
If you employ a domestic worker (e.g, a maid or housekeeper), home care nurse, nanny, construction or repair worker or contractor, or a gardener or landscaper on a regular basis:
You may be required to register for insurance coverage with WorkSafeBC.
- You do not need to register if you hire a person or business:
- For less than 8 working hours per week (e.g. if you hire someone to clean your home for four hours each week)
- To care for children before/after school for less than 15 hour per week
- Through an agency registered with WorkSafeBC and you pay the agency directly
- You employ a person or firm to do a specific job or jobs for a period of less than 24 working hours (i.e. if you hire someone to paint your house and the job takes 20 hours)
If you are building your own home and take on the role of a general contractor:
You may be required to register for coverage with WorkSafeBC, even if the subcontractors you hire carry their own registration.