Document name
Coverage – Independent Worker
Document number
POL 15/2000

Effective date: February 1, 2001

Last updated: December 13, 2000

Application: All workers as defined by this policy

Policy subject: Employer coverage and registration


To establish guidelines for coverage of independent workers.


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Section detail
  1. In this policy, pursuant to Sections 2(1)(ii) and 8 of the Act,
    1. independent worker” is defined as someone, regardless of the form in which he or she carries on their enterprise, whether as a proprietorship, partnership, or some other form,
      1. whose own enterprise is not an excluded industry;
      2. who supplies their own work under a contract for services; and
      3. who does not employ others
    2. an independent worker is not someone who owns and operates equipment provided under contract for use by a principal. Under Section 8 of the Act such people are deemed to workers in the employ of the principal.
    3. a worker cannot be a person who owns equipment provided under contract for use by a principal, unless they themselves operate the equipment, since they are covered by Section 8 of the Act.
  2. contract for service” is where a worker agrees to perform services in return for remuneration. This will only involve those circumstances where no employee/employer relationship exists.
  3. multiple contracts” are defined as contracts with different employers and/or private homeowners which may be in place at the same time or may be a series of short term contracts. For the purpose of this policy, contracts will be considered up to three years prior to application for coverage.


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  1. The Board has the jurisdiction under Section 2(1)(ii)(iv) of The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) to deem persons who do not otherwise come within the definition of “worker” to be workers.
  2. The Board has the jurisdiction under Section 20(2)(i) to determine whether any worker is within the scope of the Act and under Section 18(2) may delegate its powers. By necessary implication, the Board may give its delegates guidance on how it wishes the delegated powers to be exercised.
  3. One of the purposes of workers’ compensation legislation is to protect persons whose living depends on their own personal work and to protect them from the financial consequences of work-related injury.
  4. The changing work environment with its many variations of the traditional employer/worker relationship requires the clarification of who is considered a worker, for the purposes of the Act.


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Section detail
  1. When making a determination as to the nature of coverage of an independent worker, the following must be considered:
    1. workers who are truly self-employed and who have no employees are to be allowed to obtain their own account with the Workers’ Compensation Board, and
    2. employers are to be prevented from reorganizing their work force in order to avoid responsibility for paying workers’ compensation premiums on behalf of their workers.
  2. Generally personal coverage for an independent worker, as defined under this policy, is to be granted if the worker is able to provide satisfactory evidence that they are involved in multiple contracts with more than one employer, private homeowner and/or other enterprise, which may or may not be covered under the Act.
  3. Where workers who provide onsite labour obtain personal coverage under this policy, the minimum assessment will apply.
  4. Where it has been determined that there is sufficient work with one employer which would make the relationship an employee/employer relationship and the worker has another contract which may be within an excluded industry, personal coverage can be requested for that portion of the wage the excluded industry contract represents.
  5. Workers who provide onsite labour and who do not have personal coverage are deemed to be workers of the employers to whom they supply their work except in the case of employers in an excluded industry.
  6. This policy does not apply to employment relationships that would be seen as employee/employer, or master/servant relationships. This would include, among others, those circumstances where an individual is working on a full or part-time basis for more than one employer. Such employees would have coverage under the Act by virtue of their employer’s contributions to the fund.

Policy references

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Section heading

Act Sec #

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2(1)(l), 2(1)(ii), 3, 8, 18, 20, 122, 131, 132
The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations 14(1), 14(2)

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01 January 2014. References updated in accordance with The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013

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Board Order 56/80 Non-reporting Subcontractors
Board Order 9/86 Non-Employers

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