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Contractors and subcontractors

If your business hires contractors, it is important to know that some contractors may be your workers. This means you would be responsible for them as their employer and you would be required to pay premiums for their WorkSafeBC coverage.

When contractors are considered your workers

Contractors would be your workers if they do not operate as an independent business and are either not eligible for WorkSafeBC coverage or decline to purchase WorkSafeBC’s optional coverage.

Below are examples of situations where a contractor would likely be your worker:

  • The contractor supplies only labour
  • The contractor supplies labour and minor materials such as nails, drywall tape, or putty
  • The contractor supplies labour and a piece of major equipment but is not registered with WorkSafeBC

When contractors are not considered your workers

Contractors would not be your workers if they operate as an independent business.

Below are examples of when a contractor would be operating as an independent business:

  • The contractor has multiple contracts with different clients
  • The contractor advertises and provides services to the public (more than one client)
  • The contractor provides multiple pieces of major equipment

You may even need coverage if you are a prime contractor and you subcontract all work to independent firms or to other contractors with their own coverage. Please contact our Employer Service Centre so we can discuss your specific situation.

Confirming if your contractor is registered and paying premiums

If you hire a registered contractor who is not making required payments to WorkSafeBC, you could be liable for insurance premiums relating to the work or service they provide to you. To protect your business from additional insurance premiums, always get a clearance letter before and after you receive services from a contractor to confirm whether a business, contractor, or subcontractor is registered with us and paying premiums.

Contractors and Personal Optional Protection coverage

Some contractors operating as proprietors or partners may be registered for their workers’ coverage, but have declined personal coverage for themselves. These individuals are not covered under the Workers Compensation Act as workers, which means you could be open to a lawsuit if the proprietor or partner suffers a workplace accident.

Privacy legislation prevents us from advising whether an individual has purchased personal optional protection coverage. However, if this is a concern it is open to you to request proof of purchase of optional coverage directly from the contractor. 

If you are the prime contractor in the construction of your own home

If you are the prime contractor in the construction of your own home, please learn more about coverage needs for homeowners.