Registering with the WCB in BC

(Workers' Compensation Board)

Work Safe BC protects employers, workers and their dependants from financial hardships in the event of a workplace injury or disease. Work Safe BC collects insurance premiums from employers for this service. Employers are protected from lawsuits and their workers are eligible for compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury or disease.

As an employer you must register with WorkSafeBC, Pay premiums and maintain a safe workplace. You must know the claims process and how you can assist your injured or sick worker to return safely to work. As an employer, Compliance with Workers Compensation Act, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and First Aid Regulation is also your responsibility.

Most employers are required by law to register their business/firm with WorkSafeBC and pay premiums. Registration of employers is legislated by the Workers Compensation Act.

Generally, registration is mandatory if you:

  • Employ and pay people on a regular, casual or contract basis
  • Hire someone to work in or around your home
  • Come from another province or country to work in B.C.
  • Work as a commercial fisherman
  • Work in the trucking industry

Optional registration

Registration is optional for some firms or individuals that don't meet the criteria for mandatory registration. These include:
Partners, proprietors and spouses of proprietors, who can apply for Personal Optional Protection
Individuals or firms that don't need to be registered but opt for voluntary coverage

WCB Registration $ 50.00 *

* Taxes and disbursements are extra, where applicable.


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Questions & Answers

Q. Do I have to register for insurance coverage?

A. Virtually all employers in British Columbia must register for insurance coverage with WorkSafeBC (the Workers' Compensation Board) to protect their workers. This includes employers in home-based businesses, as well as some contractors, subcontractors and residential employers.

Q. What happens if I don't register?

A. If you are required to register and don't, you could be fined and charged the total compensation costs of an injury should one of your workers get injured, plus you will be liable to pay retroactive insurance premiums.

Q. How much does it cost to be registered?

A. Once you obtain WorkSafeBC coverage, you will be charged annual or quarterly premiums for your workplace disability insurance coverage. Premiums are directly related to the industry you're engaged in and the amount of your payroll.

Q. Do I need to register if I'm a labor contractor?

A. Although registration is not mandatory, it is permitted. If you don't register, you and your employees are covered by the prime contractor's registration. The prime contractor is then responsible for paying premiums or reporting work-related injuries.
Labor contractors include unincorporated individuals or partners who:

  • Have workers and supply labour only to one firm at a time (e.g. a framer with one or more workers in the construction industry)
  • Are not defined as workers, do not employ workers or supply major materials or major revenue-producing equipment, but do contract a service to two or more firms on an ongoing basis (e.g. a janitor who has two or more ongoing contracts with two unaffiliated firms)
  • May or may not have workers, but contract a service which includes one piece of major revenue-producing equipment to a business or a person (e.g. a backhoe contractor who supplies a backhoe)

Q. Do I need to register if I'm a worker?

A. No. In fact workers cannot register with WorkSafeBC or waive their rights to compensation. A worker is anyone employed full-time, part-time or casually, and who is paid a wage, salary or commission by the job, or on a piecework basis. This includes administration, management and clerical staff as well as labourers.

Q. Do I need to register if I'm building my own home?

A. If you take on the role of a general contractor in the construction of your own home, you may still be required to register, particularly if you hire workers, such as casual labour, to clean up around your site. Registration may be required, even if the subcontractors you hire carry their own registration. Contact the Employer Service Centre for details. Also, check the status of subcontractors working for you by using our clearance letter service.

Q. Do I need to register if I'm hiring contractors or subcontractors?

A. Probably. To be sure, contact the Employer Service Centre. Remember, even if you hire subcontractors who carry their own insurance, you should ask for their WorkSafeBC account number. You can verify that they're registered with WorkSafeBC by going to our clearance letter service.

Q. Do I need to register if my business is only in B.C. temporarily?

A. The requirement for registration is based on the number of times your business comes (or intends to come) into B.C. This is the criteria for registration:

Registration is required if:

  • Your business comes (or intends to come) into B.C. for a total of 15 or more days each year
  • Your business comes (or intends to come) into B.C. for a total of 10 to 14 days as the result of three or more visits within a year
  • Your company operates outside B.C. and establishes a place of business in B.C. or employs B.C. residents

Registration is not required if:

  • Your business comes (or intends to come) into B.C. for a total of 10 to 14 days as the result of one or two visits within a year
  • Your business comes (or intends to come) into B.C. nine days or less within a year regardless of the number of visits

For more information, contact the Employer Service Centre to determine your registration requirements.
Note: there are special requirements for out-of-province trucking firms.

Q. What if I'm a shareholder in an incorporated company?

A. If your business is active, you are required to register. All company shareholders who are actively working in your business are considered to be workers under the Workers Compensation Act and are covered under your company's WorkSafeBC account.

Q. What if I'm working outside of British Columbia?

A. If you have operations outside of B.C., and are registered with WorkSafeBC (the Workers' Compensation Board of B.C.), it doesn't remove your responsibility to comply with the workers' compensation laws in other provinces, in the territories, or in other countries. Check with the jurisdiction you'll be working in to determine your requirements.

Q. Can I apply for optional coverage?

A. If you are not automatically covered by WorkSafeBC, you may be able to apply for Personal Optional Protection (POP).

POP coverage is an option for:

  • People who are self-employed
  • Partners or proprietors (and proprietors' spouses) in a non-limited company
  • Who is exempt from registering with WorkSafeBC?

You're exempt if:

  • You're the owner or occupier of a private residence (see registration information for Homeowners and Residential Employers) and:
  • You regularly employ a person or firm for an average of less than eight working hours a week
  • You employ a person or firm to provide before and after school care for your children for an average of less than 15 working hours a week
  • You employ a person or firm to do a specific job or jobs for a temporary period of less than 24 working hours
  • You or your spouse own an unincorporated business and don't employ workers (spouses include common-law and same sex spouses)
  • You own an incorporated personal financial holding company and you don't employ workers other than the principal shareholders. The activities of your company are restricted to the management of personal investments such as:
    -Investments in publicly-traded stocks and bonds
    - Interest bearing financial instruments such as GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates)
    -Non-revenue producing land, buildings and/or equipment where there is no development, construction or direct rental activity

Q. If I'm not eligible to register, who pays for my coverage?

A. If your registration is denied because you're a worker, it means your employer is responsible for your coverage.

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