You may need to confirm your status as either an independent operator or an employee (worker) if a business who has hired you needs confirmation of their responsibility to report and pay for your WSIB coverage. We may also need to confirm your status for coverage and benefit purposes. This applies to owner/operators of their own business who do not have employees and who are not performing work under a construction classification.
If you work in construction, please see independent operators in construction, as you will have a different process.
We use a determining worker/independent operator status questionnaire by industry to help us understand if a person is considered an:
- employee (worker) that must be insured by the business for whom they are doing work
- independent operator, who is not automatically covered by the business, but can choose to be insured
- business with employee(s) that must register their business with us
Complete the appropriate form based on your industry:
How to request a ruling
Please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org if a principal for whom you are performing work requests an independent operator ruling:
- the completed questionnaire for the industry you are performing work under
- the questionnaire must be signed by yourself and the principal for whom you are performing work
- the listed supporting documentation on the applicable questionnaire
- the completed optional insurance request form (if applicable)
Independent operator status rulings in transportation
The principal and owner-operator/individual must complete a transportation industry questionnaire for an independent operator status ruling if they work in the transportation industry (trucking, courier, third-party food delivery and rideshare). We will issue a status determination letter to both parties once we’ve made a ruling.
Independent operators in the transportation industry can then provide a copy of the status determination letter to new principals for all subsequent contracts if the same vehicle identification number (VIN) is used. The principal must match the independent operator vehicle ownership documents to the VIN on the status determination letter. If they match, the status determination letter is valid for the contract.
We will review the questionnaire and documentation and make a ruling of either independent operator or worker (employee). We will send decision letters to both the principal and owner/operator advising them of the decision.
Independent operators should keep their decision letter for transportation industry status rulings.
What is the difference between a “worker” and an “independent operator”?
An employee (worker) includes anyone employed by a business, including family, whose work where, when, and how the work is performed is controlled by their employer. This includes full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary employees, certain domestic employees, unregistered individuals engaged in construction work, students, apprentices, learners and training participants. An employee must be insured by the business for whom they are doing work.
An independent operator agrees to perform specific work in return for payment. The business for whom they work does not necessarily control the way their work is done, or the time and place the work is performed. An independent operator is not automatically covered by the business for whom they are doing work.
When do I complete a determining worker/independent operator status questionnaire?
You should complete a questionnaire before you start doing work for a business who has hired you.
You will need to complete a questionnaire if you are not employing full or part-time help and you have been asked to show proof of WSIB coverage by the company or companies with which you currently have a contract.
If you are a company engaging contractors and need a worker/independent operator status determination, you should complete a questionnaire to determine if you have an obligation to report and pay for their WSIB coverage.
We may also need to confirm your status for coverage and benefit purposes.
What does a worker/independent operator status ruling mean?
If you are considered an employee (worker), the business you are doing work for is responsible for providing coverage for you through the WSIB. The business will report and pay premiums for you. This status ruling is effective as of the start date of the working relationship, and the business may need to make retroactive premium payments.
If you are considered an independent operator, the business you are doing work for isn’t responsible for paying premiums on your earnings. In this case you can apply for optional insurance, which provides coverage in case of a workplace injury or illness. Once you have optional insurance, you can get a clearance certificate, if your account is up to date.
If you enter a new business relationship with the same business in the future, you should notify us, as we may need to review the status ruling.
Can independent operator status rulings for the transportation industry (trucking, courier, third-party food delivery and rideshare) apply to more than one contract?
Yes. Once an independent operator receives a status determination, they can use it for all subsequent contracts for new principals, provided the independent operator uses the same vehicle identification number (VIN). The principal must match the independent operator vehicle ownership documents to the VIN on the status determination letter. If they match, the status determination letter is valid for the contract.
If the independent operator changes vehicles, they must complete a new questionnaire and the status determination will again apply to all subsequent contracts where the same VIN is used.
What do I do if I already have a status determination in the transportation industry, but I changed vehicles?
You must obtain a new independent operator status determination. Complete a new questionnaire and have it signed by a principal. You can use this new letter for all subsequent contracts, provided you use the same vehicle and vehicle identification number (VIN), if we determine that you are an independent operator.
Why do I need to submit a general or logging questionnaire for each business for which I work?
Completing the questionnaire helps to protect both the individual and the company they are doing work for in case of injury or illness.
This confirms if a business who has hired you is responsible for reporting and paying for your WSIB coverage.
It will also help if a business is audited. Without confirming status, a business may be responsible for premiums for the labour portion of the contract paid to the person completing the work.
Which questionnaire do I complete if I work in the taxi or retail industry?
Why do I need to submit a questionnaire for each business I do work for?
Completing the questionnaire helps to protect both the individual and the company for whom they are doing work in case of injury or illness.
This confirms if a business who has hired you is responsible for reporting and paying for your WSIB coverage.
It also helps if a business is audited. Without confirming status, a business may be responsible for premiums for the labour portion of the contract paid to the person completing the work.
If you are in the transportation industry (trucking, courier, third-party food delivery or rideshare), you do not need to submit a questionnaire for each business you work for, if you are using the same vehicle and Vehicle Insurance Number (VIN). If you change vehicles, you must obtain a new status decision, which you can then use for all subsequent contracts, provided you use the same VIN.
Why is the business who has hired me holding my payment?
A worker/independent operator status decision confirms if you’re an employee (worker) or an independent operator. This confirms if a business who has hired you is responsible for reporting and paying for your WSIB coverage. Until a decision has been made, the business may hold back payment to you because it may be held liable for premiums for the labour portion of the contract. You can read our clearance FAQs for more detail.
Getting a status decision before or at the start of the work, will avoid your payment being held back.
How long is the status decision valid?
The status decision is valid for the term of the contract, or as long as there is no change in the working relationship between the business and the person providing the work. If there is a change in the working relationship due to a new contract, you can contact the WSIB for a status decision.
If it is determined you are an employee of the business, the decision is valid until your employment relationship changes.
If you are in the transportation industry (trucking, courier, third-party food delivery or rideshare), the status decision is valid as long as you are using the same vehicle and Vehicle Insurance Number (VIN). If you change vehicles, you must obtain a new status decision, which you can then use for all subsequent contracts, provided you use the same vehicle and VIN.
As an individual, if I incorporate am I considered an independent operator due to my legal status as a corporation?
Just incorporating your company does not make you an independent operator.
Even though you’re an individual who is incorporated, we’ll still need to determine whether the working relationship is an employee (worker) or an independent operator. This confirms if a business who has hired you is responsible for reporting and paying for your WSIB coverage.
You’ll need to complete the applicable determining worker/independent operator status questionnaire so we can determine what your status is even though you’ve incorporated.
Do I need to submit anything in addition to the questionnaire?
You may need to include the following supporting documents, depending on the industry you work in:
- copies of three to five recent invoices/contracts for different companies (to show that work is completed for more than one business)
- copy of your business registration or Certificate/Articles of Incorporation
- HST number, if applicable
- copies of recent purchase orders for materials that are supplied as part of the work performed (e.g. tools)
- advertising material (e.g. business cards, website), if available
- if you are in transportation, a copy of your vehicle ownership
This is not an exhaustive list. Please see the industry-specific questionnaire for more examples of supporting documentation.
You and the business for whom you’re doing work must sign the questionnaire.
You can list multiple businesses on one questionnaire.
What are some of the factors that we look at to make the status decision?
We carefully review all materials submitted. We look at whether the information provided is more characteristic of the behaviour or situations of an employee (worker) or independent operator. For example, if an experienced employee of the business that you’re doing work for trains or supervises you this would be more characteristic of an employer-employee relationship. An independent operator would be more likely to use their own methods to complete the work.
We also look at factors such as the materials, tools, and equipment you use, and if there are any costs associated with doing the work, such as the cost of obtaining, maintaining, operating and repairing the materials, tools and equipment. We look at who pays for these costs and who decides where to purchase the material. We consider the person’s ability to earn a profit or suffer a loss in the work they’re doing.
You can review our Workers and Independent Operators policy for more information on factors considered when making a status decision.
How will I know what decision was made?
We send a letter to each person who signed the questionnaire – the individual as well as the business(es) for whom they are completing work, once we reach a status decision. The letter outlines their WSIB responsibilities resulting from the decision.
Is a clearance certificate the same as a ruling?
Can I obtain coverage in case of a workplace injury?
You can apply for optional insurance for yourself, which provides coverage in case of a workplace injury or illness, if you are ruled to be an independent operator. You'll have the same benefits of any other employee at that point.