Hiring a Contractor
by John O'Fee
As a lawyer, I see a lot of people who don't cover their bases when hiring contractors. If a contractor is unregistered
with Worksafe BC and is injured at your residence, WCB will come after you personally for the payments they make to the worker.
You can't rely on not knowing the registered status of the contractor or that he "told you" he had WCB coverage. It also doesn't matter if the injury happened as a result of the contractor's own negligence.
People have quite literally lost their homes over this.
To meet your obligations, you have to get the contractor's WCB number and get a clearance letter from the following web page. WorkSafeBC
Not sure if this applies to you? Here are the rules...
Registration for Homeowners and Residents
When you hire someone to work in your home to meet your personal or domestic needs, you are considered a residential employer. Whether you hire the worker on a full-time, part-time, or casual basis, you may need to register for WorkSafeBC insurance coverage if you hire:
- Nannies, companions, or other personal caregivers
- Domestic workers such as household cleaners
- Construction or repair workers or contractors
- Gardeners or landscapers
You do not need to register if you hire a person:
- For an average of less than eight working hours per week
- For a specific job to be completed in less than 24 working hours, or to care for children before and after school for an average of less than 15 hours per week
- Through an agency registered with WorkSafeBC, where you pay the agency directly
- Who is independently registered with WorkSafeBC
Responsibilities of Homeowners
Homeowners and B.C. residents who hire workers cannot be sued for the costs of a work-related injury or disease. If a worker is injured in your home while on the job, WorkSafeBC pays for the worker's entire medical and wage-loss costs. In return for this protection, you are expected to:
- Register with WorkSafeBC
- Pay employer premiums
- Provide a safe and healthy work environment
- Registration guarantees protection
The law requires WorkSafeBC to compensate injured workers - even when employers have not registered with WorkSafeBC. If a homeowner does not register with WorkSafeBC and pay premiums when required, the results could be costly. WorkSafeBC may charge the homeowner for all compensation costs and unpaid premiums.
Protect yourself - Check the registration status of contractors.
When you hire people to work in or around your home, always ask them whether they carry their own coverage. If they do, ask for their WorkSafeBC account numbers. Double-check their information by requesting an online clearance letter from WorkSafeBC before they begin working for you and before you make a final payment. A clearance letter gives you assurance that you won't be held responsible for someone else's payments to WorkSafeBC.
Building Inspection Division
105 Seymour Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 2C6
Permits outside City limits, call the TNRD - ph 250-377-8673
Note: All correspondence is entered into our system and will be directed accordingly. The City of Kamloops will endeavor to contact you within two business days. Thank you.