Document name
Coverage – Independent Worker
Document number
POL 13/2020

Effective date: February 1, 2021

Application: All workers as defined by this policy

Policy subject: Employer coverage and registration


To establish guidelines for independent worker coverage.


Policy section content
Section detail

Contract for service, also referred to as a principal-contractor relationship, is where a business or individual provides labour services, which may involve the use of equipment, to another business or individual on a contract basis in return for a monetary amount.

Contractor or subcontractor means a business or individual hired under a contract for service by another business or individual and can be present in all industries.

Employer means any person, association or body that hires one or more workers on a full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal or contract basis.

Independent worker is a proprietorship, partnership, or corporation that:

    1. Is operating in a mandatory industry.
    2. Supplies their own work under a contract for service, and
    3. Does not hire a worker(s).

Principal means any person, association or body that hires a contractor. Principals are considered employers.

Worker is a person who has entered into a contract of or for service, written or oral, expressed or implied, and includes:

    1. A learner.
    2. A member of a municipal volunteer fire brigade.
    3. A director of a corporation who reports earnings on a T4.
    4. A contractor (including a director receiving assessable earnings reported on a T4A and T5018), and
    5. Any person who is considered to be a worker by the Board.


Policy section content
Section detail
  1. The WCB has authority under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) to determine who are considered workers (Section 2(1)(ii)(iv)).
  2. The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has jurisdiction in determining whether any worker is within the scope of the Act and may delegate its powers to its employees (Section 20(2)(i) and 18(2)).
  3. The worker of a contractor is considered to be the worker of the principal, unless the contractor is an employer in their own right (Section 131(2)).
  4. It is the WCB’s intent to protect persons whose living depends on their own personal work from the financial consequences of a work-related injury.
  5. The changing work environment and the variations of the traditional employer-worker relationship requires the clarification of who is considered a worker for the purposes of the Act.
  6. Employers must not reorganize their work force for the purpose of avoiding responsibility for WCB premiums on behalf of their workers.


Policy section content
Section detail
  1. An independent worker will be eligible for a WCB employer account, and the owner, partner or director may apply for personal coverage in accordance with POL 03/2014, Coverage – Personal, if they are able to provide satisfactory evidence that they are involved or intend to be involved in multiple contracts:
    1. With at least two individuals and/or businesses in an industry that may or may not be covered under the Act.
    2. For the same type of work or industrial undertaking, and
    3. Within the current and three years prior to application for coverage.
  2. An independent worker who is only beginning their business and is not yet involved in multiple contracts may be able to obtain personal coverage. Coverage requirements are outlined in PRO 13/2020, Independent Worker Coverag e.
  3. An independent worker who is eligible for personal coverage may request coverage at any amount between the minimum personal coverage amount and the maximum assessable amount set for that year. If coverage is requested above the minimum, proof of earnings will be required in the event of an injury, as outlined in POL 03/2014, Coverage – Personal.
  4. An independent worker who is not eligible for, or chooses not to elect, personal coverage is considered a worker of the principal(s) who is operating in a mandatory industry.
  5. If an independent worker provides labour services to a principal that is in an excluded industry and has not elected voluntary coverage, there will be no coverage for the independent worker unless they have elected personal coverage.
  6. For independent workers who own or lease and operate equipment, additional coverage guidelines are outlined in POL 14/2020, Contracts Involving Equipment.

Policy references

Policy reference content

Section heading

Legislative Authority

Section detail

The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013
Sections 2(1)(l), 2(1)(ii), 3, 18, 20, 122, 131

The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations, 1985
Section 14(2)

Section heading

Document History

Section detail

(1)    POL 15/2000, Coverage – Independent Worker (effective February 1, 2001 to January 31, 2021).
(2)    January 1, 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (Bill 58).
(3)    Board Order 9/86, Non-Employers (effective February 14, 1986 to February 1, 2000).
(4)    Board Order 56/80, Non-Reporting Subcontractors (effective July 7, 1980 to February 1, 2000).

Section heading


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