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WCB and Workers' Compensation Requirements in Alberta, Canada


WCB - As An Employer, Who Do I Have to Cover?

Most employers in Alberta are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance for their workers, both paid and unpaid. Workers’ compensation is disability insurance that provides your workers with compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. It also protects you from lawsuit by your injured workers.

There may be individuals who you do not consider your “workers”, but they are providing a service for your benefit. As a result, you may be required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for them if they are not already covered. This means you must include them when reporting your workers’ insurable earnings to the WCB.

You are required to cover all your workers. A worker for WCB purposes is any person who enters into or works under a contract of service or apprenticeship, written or oral, expressed or implied, whether by way of manual labour or otherwise. A worker is anyone who works:

• full-time
• part-time
• temporary or casual
• contract/subcontract, unless they are operating through a corporation or they maintain their own WCB account (see Contractor/subcontractor section).

If any of your workers are not paid, you must still report a value for their services with the insurable earnings information you submit for your workers. This value of service should represent a fair market value for the services provided.

PLEASE NOTE: Deductions made by an employer from a worker's earnings expressly to pay for any portion of a premium owed to the WCB are illegal under Section 139 of the Act. Section 139 prohibits employers from deducting a fee from their workers’ wages to cover the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. This is part of an employer's cost of doing business.

Family members
The definition of a worker also applies to family members. With the exception of proprietors, partners in a partnership or directors of a corporation, all individuals actively providing a service to the business are workers.

If you are operating as a corporation, you do not have to cover the directors of your corporation. Directors are persons elected by shareholders to manage the business and financial affairs of a corporation. The Alberta Corporate Registry officially records the names of all directors. In order to be covered by workers’
compensation, directors need to purchase optional personal coverage. Directors who do not have personal coverage are not protected from legal action resulting from workers’ injuries and may be personally sued.

You are required to cover your shareholders who work for the corporation. When shareholders are also elected directors of the corporation, they are not covered by workers’ compensation unless they obtain personal coverage.

If you hire contractors or subcontractors you must cover them, except when these individuals:

1. have their own WCB account
2. are operating as a corporation, or
3. are performing the work as:

• an employer in that industry
• a worker of another employer
• a director of a corporation (see Corporations section)
• a proprietor with personal coverage (see Proprietors section)
• a partner in a partnership with personal coverage (see Partnerships section).

For contractors/subcontractors earnings, you report 100% of the amount paid if only labour is supplied. If equipment is involved, contact the WCB for assistance in determining the amount to report.

If you hire a corporation, you do not cover their workers or directors.
Partnerships If you hire a partnership that has no workers, you must cover the partners if none of them have personal coverage. If, however, any partner has personal coverage, you do not cover any of the partners. The partner(s) without personal coverage will not receive compensation benefits if injured.

If you hire proprietors who do not have personal coverage, you must cover them as your workers. A proprietor for WCB purposes is an individual who owns and operates a business and does not employ any workers. Proprietors usually perform work for more than one principal concurrently.

If you are a non-profit employer who engages volunteers who receive nominal or no remuneration for their services, you may apply to have them covered by workers’ compensation (e.g., the building of a church or community hall).
If you are an employer who is for profit, you may also apply to cover your volunteers if they are in an activity that arises from patriotism, civic-mindedness, or religious or charitable purposes. Otherwise, if the volunteers
are there to solely support your business activity/profitability, they are considered your workers and are to be insured at a value of service.
The difference between a volunteer and an unpaid worker may be unclear to you. Please call your nearest WCB office to discuss your situation.

Registration for WSIB account is available from our office. Please contact us for more details.


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