Insurance and income tax are said to be among mankind’s greatest grudge expenses. They seldom seem to provide the benefits to match their cost. That’s why we try to put off settling those bills for as long as possible, and do our best to cut them back to the minimum. Sometimes it seems we’re hoping they’ll go away.
The problem with computers is that we are becoming far too used to having an undo button, and that’s spreading beyond our keyboards too. However time machines do not exist, the revenue service has a habit of getting its way, and medical bills for accident injuries have become outrageously expensive.
Accidents Will Happen
Work-based accidents in Ontario are still surprisingly common. Power tools (and the fact that some contractors work alone on jobs in order to remain competitive) ensure this. When an uninsured worker is hurt, the costs of emergency transportation, surgery, after care, rehabilitation and temporary loss of income are horrendous. An uninsured worker, if not covered by their waterproofing contractor company, will either have to pay their own medical bills or look to other liable parties for to pay for medical costs. Those liable persons can be the homeowner where the work was being performed.
So the question is, are you comfortable getting sued by a worker because their employer does not carry the required insurance? You may say that couldn’t happen, but it happens every day. Lawyers look for the person who carries the most insurance and liability, and that person is the homeowner when it comes to workplace accidents on their property.
Until the Ontario Workman’s Safety and Insurance Board introduced its accident insurance scheme, local contractors and employers were both at risk. Contractors who do not enjoy the Board’s accident coverage and do not employ other means of workplace employment still face their costs of injury alone. However they also have the right to sue their customers – and some successfully do. It is not only their homes that sometimes have to be sold.
But Isn’t this Coverage Automatic?
It’s supposed to be. However a contractor still has to register with the WSIB and pay an annual fee. Some waterproofing contractors may take the risk of not being insured to save money (and try and undercut reputable companies who carry the necessary insurance), while some think they can’t afford it or for the employees they hire. Others simply forget.
A related problem is that some employers either don’t know about Ontario’s WSIB insurance, or just assume that everything’s under control. When that happens, both parties are literally surfing naked on a potential time bomb, if you’ll excuse the mixed analogy.
What If a Contractor is Injured on my property as a homeowner?
The law requires that you as the homeowner take reasonable steps to minimize the effects of injury, and ensure the individual receives the necessary attention. After that, your involvement should be over. Unless, of course, a lawyer thinks they can prove your negligence. In the latter case the legal bills alone could break you.
How Can I be Sure a contractor has proper coverage?
Ask to see a waterproofing company’s Ontario WSIB clearance number, which is now valid for ninety days. If they’re not insured, think twice before you hire them. It’s simply not worth the risk. There are many waterproofing companies operating in Toronto with very little insurance or none at all. They operate out of the back of their van and charge low rates because they are taking big risks for themselves, their workers and you the homeowner. These same waterproofing companies will offer generous warranties, knowing full well they have no intention (or means) of hounoring them. If they’ve forgotten it (or think they’re covered), the WSIB website is able to provide instant confirmation online.
If you really want to hire a waterproofing contractor but the insurance angle isn’t crystal clear, then this should be your first port of call. After all, it costs you nothing yet could and will prevent you from potential liability if an injury occurs on your property.