Principals must register with WorksafeBC

If you are the sole active principal (“Principal”) of a business, you are probably concerned with many issues, like profitability and paying taxes. An important issue you must also consider is how you’ll maintain your livelihood if you’re injured on the job. To that effect, it’s important that as the Principal, you register and meet all WorksafeBC requirements to ensure you’re covered in the event you’re injured. If you fail to meet these requirements and you are injured on the job, the Board will likely deny you coverage.

For example, in WCAT decision WCAT-2009-03348, the Principal of an auto repair shop was seriously injured on the job and was blinded in one eye. The Principal’s company’s registration with the Board had lapsed and he tried to apply for coverage after his injury. Despite his sympathetic circumstances, the Board denied him coverage and it seems he was left without recourse.

If you’re unsure whether you’re covered, you must follow up with WorksafeBC to confirm you are in fact covered. There are circumstances where a sole active principal might believe his registration and premiums are being remitted to the Board by another company, but they in fact aren’t. For example, in WCAT decision WCAT-2011-02017, the Board denied a claim where a Principal was injured while carrying on business as a window and door installation sub-contractor through his company (“M Company”). The Board denied coverage and held that notwithstanding the individual’s argument that his contractor had been remitting payments to the Board on his behalf, M Company was a standalone entity requiring standalone registration. The Board reached this decision despite the fact that the contractor provided M Company with the majority of its work, exercised significant control, paid for tools and materials, set deadlines, retained responsibility for quality control, and controlled contracts.

Long story short, if you are operating a small business in B.C., or are a Principal, it’s important that you ensure you are compliant with WorksafeBC requirements. To accomplish this task, engage WorksafeBC in discussion about your status or contact an employment lawyer to assess for you.


Article written by Wesley Forgione

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Pushor Mitchell's Employment Group assists clients in meeting the challenges of today's workplace, including: hiring, firing, management, discipline, contracts, human rights, employment standards, privacy and many other related issues. In their column, the authors' provide practical and interesting information on employment law topics for both employers and employees.

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