Your current WCB coverage may not be enough to protect your company from fines and levies. This article will explain what you need to know to properly protect your company if you’re working in multiple provinces from penalties.
This can also negatively affect your employees in the event they suffer a WCB injury while working out of province.
Current times have led to companies looking elsewhere for clients and customers. Expanding into territories they may otherwise not have.
What Do You Need to Know About WCB Out of Province Coverage?
There are a few things.
To begin, having WCB coverage or a WCB account in one province does not necessarily mean that coverage extends outside of the province. There are guidelines you should consider when hiring a worker and working in another province.
- What is the requirements of the WCB you’re working in for out of province workers?
- Where is the worker’s usual place of work?
- Where does the worker live?
- How long is the worker working outside the province?
I will go through this including information to help you make the best decisions for your company.
Each Province Has Different Requirements and You NEED to Know Them!
If you go to any WCB website and look up “out of province” you’ll find they all say it is the COMPANY’S responsibility to contact the provincial WCB they are working in or going to work in.
This is important because it’s up to you to find out what are the criteria they use to cover your workers.
Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties.
In some cases the WCB may charge your company for the cost of the claim. This is a headache you don’t want.
In some cases you may not require coverage in the other province, but you should still let your provincial WCB know that you’re sending workers out of the province to work. This will ensure that you’ve done your due diligence to have your worker covered in the event of an accident or injury.
Will I Have to Pay Duplicate Premiums?
The short answer is no.
As part of the Interjurisdictional Agreement on Workers’ Compensation, you only report earnings and pay premiums to the WCB in the jurisdiction where the work is being performed.
If at any time you’re unsure, it’s recommended you speak with the employer services department for the provinces you could be working in and confirm what needs to be done by you to meet the legal requirements.
We will assume that the criteria has been met for an account in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company based in Regina has a WCB Saskatchewan account. As per the guidelines they also recently opened a WCB Alberta account.
The company has an employee that is working in Alberta for a short period of time. This employee does live in Saskatchewan and normally works in Saskatchewan.
This person get’s paid $50,000 per year and of that $50,000 he earned $15,000 while working in Alberta.
Under this agreement, the man’s company would report $15,000 to Alberta and $35,000 to Saskatchewan. The premiums would be paid according to the rate in each province.
Where Is the Worker’s Usual Place of Work?
If your employee is a resident of a specific province (British Columbia or “B.C.”) and spends the majority of their time in B.C. This would be considered the usual place of work.
When is My Employee Considered a Resident?
While it may vary between provinces, typically, the criteria to determine residency is:
- Evidence of permanent residence to the province
- Immediate family
- Bank account
- Registered vehicles / Assets
- Pays provincial taxes to that province
This information could be used as evidence for residency in that province.
Length of Time Working in Other Provinces
Each Provincial Workers Compensation has it’s criteria and length of time that they would cover an out of province worker.
It’s important to check timelines for:
- The length of time your coverage can extend to your employee while they are out of province
- The length of time your worker is working in another province and at what point are you required to open a WCB Account
In some cases, it may not just be the number of days you’re working in another province, but also the number of trips taken outside the province. Typically the days worked and number of trips are measured on an annual basis.
What is the Right to Elect?
In some cases, a worker is injured while working out of province. Yet based on the criteria of both provinces, the worker may technically make a claim in either province. In this case, the worker would need to “elect” which province to make a claim in. This is because a worker cannot have the same claim in two provinces.
The election process should be carefully considered by the worker and the company. This is because whichever province the claim is registered, they would be bound by the policies in that particular province.
Once a decision is made, you would go to the website of the provincial WCB you’re attempting to claim to, and complete a “Right to Elect” Form. This can usually be done by searching: “right to elect” on their website.
Does it Matter Where a Company is Based?
Typically the provincial WCB will look at where the worker was working and living at the time of the accident.
A resident of Quebec can’t make a claim in Alberta because he works for an Alberta company. It’s about where the worker was hired to work.
Your company could work in 5 different provinces, but if the WORKER was hired to work at a specific job site, for the WCB it usually doesn’t matter what the company is doing. It’s what the worker was hired for.
I Can’t Get a WCB Account for the Province I am Working in!
If you can’t get an account in the other province then it’s recommended you contact the WCB where you do have a current account. You’ll want to explain to them that you are trying to get an account in another province, but you’re unsuccessful.
Your company may be able to get a waiver by your provincial WCB for your out of province workers.
To ensure your workers are covered you want to make sure this is done BEFORE you start work in that province.
A phone call can save you thousands of dollars!
Does it Matter if My Worker is Seasonal or Permanent?
Let’s start off by understanding the difference between the two:
Typically a worker that is hired on a contract basis for less than 12 months. The worker may work full time hours and schedule during this period, but it’s anticipated they would be laid off or stop working for seasonal interruptions.
A worker that is hired to work more than 12 months and not subject to layoffs.
Often an argument is made that the worker was a permanent employee as they have worked for the company the past 10 years. The worker is hired in March to start work after winter and is laid off in November when snow fall begins.
As you can see, the worker is hired and then laid off in under that 12 month period.
Why is this important?
Because each time this worker is laid off and rehired they are given a new contract.
As soon as a worker is given a record of employment (ROE) to work elsewhere or collect Employment Insurance (EI) the contract ends.
You are a company in Alberta. You hired this particular worker each year the past 5 years, and they have done work in Alberta. Only THIS year, you hire them to work in Manitoba on a project. When that project is done they will be laid off. They WILL NOT be brought back to Alberta to work.
If the worker gets hurt on that project in Manitoba, they would technically not have the right of election in Alberta. The claim would go to WCB Manitoba.
The WCB may consider an election if there was a chance the worker could come back to Alberta and work. WCB could look at considerations of future potential work in your home province.
What Should I Do If My Company is Going to Work in More Than ONE Province.
Before you call any WCB you’ll want to have the following information:
- Where are you going to be working? (Will it be in one or more provinces)
- Where are you hiring your employees from? (Are you sending workers from out of province or hiring workers from within the province that the work is being performed)
- How long will you be working out of province?
- Will you be taking multiple trips into the province?
To summarize this article we recommend you:
- Call the WCB, WSIB, Worksafe in the province you’ll be working in.
- Tell them that you are planning on having workers come into the province and work.
- Give them the information we’ve recommended you collect before the call.
- Identify if you need an account and go through that process.
- Perhaps you won’t be denied but based on the criteria you don’t require an account.
- Give them the information we’ve recommended you collect before the call.
- If the province your working in doesn’t require an account or denies the account then call your local WCB where you currently have an account.
Explain to them that you are sending workers out of province to work and that you cannot get an account in that province.
They will discuss your options for coverage to ensure you are in compliance.
- We recommend writing all of this information down anytime you speak with WCB. This is to ensure accuracy in the information you are getting from each provincial WCB when opening or discussing a WCB account.
- In some cases, you may want us to have this conversation on your behalf with WCB. In this case, go to the CONTACT US page and tell us your scenario. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.
What Can WCBconsulting.ca DO For YOU!
Our mission is to educate Companies and Safety Professionals to understand Workers Compensation in their province. When you better understand the system you can help reduce premiums and increase profits.
Companies are spending MILLIONS on WCB with no idea why. There is a belief that it’s the cost of doing business.
What if WCB could be used as a profit generator of your company? How could this be so?
We offer an online course that will walk you through the key areas of WCB and these are: WCB Claims Management and WCB Appeals.
To check out the online course click here.
If you only get a few claims a year, or you’re a seasoned professional at WCB, the online course is a great resource for you.
If you’re still not sure, then check out a sample video by going clicking here.
For other great resources check out our common questions area for more articles and helpful tips.