Employer Classification Manual User Guide


The Employer Classification Manual (ECM) houses descriptions of the classification categories used by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to classify the business activities of employers in Ontario.

It describes the 800-plus Classification Units (CUs) used by the WSIB to classify all business activities into rate groups.

The ECM is used in tandem with two documents located in the Operational Policy Manual (OPM) to classify employers. Copies of these policies have been added to the Reference section, see below.

How the Manual is Organized

Rate group table

The Rate group table lists all of the rate groups in numerical order, organized by class. The CUs are listed below the rate group description by document number.

CU documents

Every document in the manual has a unique letter and number identifier that is broken down into three categories: class, rate group, and position in that rate group based on the CU.

Class – the letter represents the class, e.g., A – Forest Products

Rate group – these are characterized by three digits, e.g., 033 – Mill Products and Forestry Services

Position – this two digit number distinguishes where the document is placed in the rate group based on the numerical order of the CUs, e.g., 01 is 2511-000 Shingles and Shakes, 02 is 2512-000 Sawmill and Planing Mill Products, and so on.


There are two sections of Appendices which provide a record of minuted amendments to the CUs:

1) New Classification Units and Amendments
This section lists revisions to the ECM since it was first published on January 1, 1994 until January 1, 2005. The revisions are recorded numerically by document number and a description of the change is followed by the application date and minute reference. The most recent amendment rescinds and supersedes the previous amendment.

Effective January 1, 2005, a new appendix is created with each change to the ECM.

2) Clarification of Health Care Policies
This document clarifies the application and effective dates of various CUs in the manual relating to health care. The minuting memo before the main text indicates the CUs affected by the policy and the effective dates of the clarifications.


The Reference section contains a copy of two OPM documents that are used in tandem with the ECM: 12-01-02, Employer by Application, and 14-01-01, The Classification Scheme.

Document Headings

Title Tag

Since the ECM was re-minuted effective January 1, 2005, there have been new documents added and amendments to existing documents. A tag is placed on the document next to the CU title, to indicate if there has been an “Amendment.” Note that a tag may not appear if the amendment is very minor as in the case of a housekeeping change (e.g., typographical error, cross reference update).


Status indicates the coverage of the CU relative to coverage under Schedule 1 of the Workplace safety and Insurance Act (WSIA). The status can be Compulsory under Schedule 1, By application (non-covered), or By application (transfer from Schedule 2).

Compulsory under Schedule 1 means that the CU represents one, or part of one, of the industries listed in Schedule 1. Employers engaged in a business activity that falls under a CU with this status carry compulsory coverage for all workers engaged in that activity.

By application (non-covered) means that the CU includes activities that do not fall under either Schedule 1 or Schedule 2. Employers engaged in these non-covered activities can apply for Schedule 1 coverage. If the WSIB approves the application, the employer’s operations are added to Schedule 1.

By application (transfer from Schedule 2) means that the CU includes activities that fall under Schedule 2. Employers in these Schedule 2 activities can apply to transfer to Schedule 1. If the WSIB approves the application, the employer’s operations are added to Schedule 1.

An asterisk (*) beside any of the three status descriptions indicates that the CU has mixed status. This means that one or more of the business activities in the CU does not have the same coverage status as the other activities. In most cases, the status description provides the status for the majority of the activities in the CU. Details of which activities form exceptions, and why, are recorded in a “Note.”

Example: In document I-921-06 (9121-000) – Lodging Houses and Residential Clubs, the status description reads “Compulsory under Schedule 1.*” The Note explains that the activities indicated by an asterisk in the Scope are not compulsorily covered. In the list of business activities, asterisks appear beside “fraternity houses,” “residential clubs,” and “sorority houses.”


This is a general description of the business activities or services included in the CU. If applicable, this description is followed by a detailed list of activities, products, or services.


Notes provide additional information to help describe a CU and its business activities. For example, if a CU has mixed status, a Note is used to specify and describe this.

Cross reference

These entries refer the reader to other CU documents which include similar or related business activities. These documents are hyperlinked with the title and number of the referenced CU in green text. Simply click the link and the content will be displayed. To return to the original document, click the Back button on your browser.

Application Date

The application date of each CU document is displayed in the header at the top of the page and in the footer of the print friendly version.

Published Date

The published date refers to the date when the document was published for release on the website and in hard copy. This date is displayed in the header at the top of the page and in the footer of the print friendly version. The WSIB releases new or revised policies as soon as possible after they are minuted or when the new policy goes into effect in the event of a prospective application date. The electronic version is available online for public consumption and the hard copy version is mailed to manual subscribers.

How to locate policies in the ECM


To use the search feature in the top right corner of the website, key in the term(s) you are looking for, click on Search or press Enter. You can key in single words, phrases, document numbers, or CU with the hyphens included (example: I-921-06 or 9121-000).

Left navigation menu

The chapters of the manual are organized in the left navigation menu. Each chapter displays its own table of contents when you click the chapter title. To display a document, click on a link from the chapter’s table of contents. The CU content will display in the centre of the screen.

Navigating within a policy document

CU documents contain these major headings: Status, Scope, Note, and Cross Reference. To move directly to one of these headings, click on the green buttons under the header of a CU document. To move back to the beginning of the document, click on the Back to top link or scroll using the vertical bar on the right side of the browser window.


When you click on ECM Home in the left navigation menu you are taken to the landing page for this manual. The landing page contains the most current updates to the manual with hyperlinks to the updated classification documents.


To obtain a print friendly version of a policy, click on the Print Official Version button on the top right corner of the content page. You can use this print friendly version to update your hard copy of the manual if you choose.