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Understanding WorkSafeBC Insurance

When starting a business there is always a long checklist of tasks to complete, and worker’s compensation insurance should be one of those tasks.  Although it will mean another set of paperwork to complete, this short term pain will pay off dividends, should you or one of your employees have an accident or become ill at work. 

In British Columbia, WorkSafeBC is the exclusive insurer for workers' compensation; responsible for administering work-related injury, illness and disease compensation claims and helping to promote workplace health and safety.  

Is it Mandatory to Register my Small Business with WorkSafeBC?

In British Columbia you are required, by law, to register your business with WorkSafe BC if you:

  1. Are an incorporated or limited company
  2. Employ workers either full-time, part-time, casual or contract

The exception to this law however, is if you are a labour contractor who has employees.  In this case it is not mandatory to register your business, however if you’re able to should you wish. 

What Insurance is Available to the Self-Employed or Business Owners of Incorporated Companies? 

If your business doesn’t fall into the above two categories but you still would still like coverage; WorkSafeBC offers optional coverage for small businesses.

If you’re self-employed or are the business owner, owner’s spouse or business partner in a non-limited company you’re able to apply for Personal Optional Protection (POP). 

Many business owners use POP because the required mandatory registration doesn’t cover them as an owner, only their employees.  Therefore if you, as the business owner, became ill or injured in the workplace you’ll not be eligible for compensation from WorkSafe BC unless you had registered for POP.

Why Register for POP?

Take a moment to think about what would happen if you became injured or become ill as a result of your work.  Who would protect your loss of income? And how would you pay for the medical and rehabilitation services you’ll need? 

When registered for POP, should you become ill or injured through a work related incident, you’ll receive the medical care you need to recover, including appointments with physicians and specialists if required, as well as lab and x-ray services, medical supplies and prescription drugs. 

And should you need assistance getting back to work, you may also get vocational assessment and planning, counseling, and skills development and placement assistance.

Benefits of Registering with WorkSafeBC

Collective Liability

All money that you pay as an individual or as a business for insurance is pooled together with the money of the other people and businesses in your industry. This means that all claims by injured workers are funded from this pot of money.  You’ll never have to bear the full cost of a claim alone.

Up to 50% Discount Rewards for Safety

The safer you are, the less you pay. If your claims costs are low, you can earn discounts of up to 50 percent on your rate. But be warned, if you have high relative claims costs, you could be liable to pay as much as a 100 percent more on your rate.

Free Expert Advice on Health and Safety

Gain access to expert advice on health, safety and prevention to help make your workplace safer and your liability lower.  With training programs and advisors available to speak to small groups, as well the wealth of information on their website and in print, WorkSafeBC can help provide the expertise to make your business safer.

It’s Not Just About Compensation

Help is not limited to financial compensation. WorkSafeBC staff can help set up modified work programs to help you or your employees return to work and lead healthy and productive lives.

Review and Appeal Services

Don’t agree with a decision by WorkSafe BC? You can appeal to the Review Division provides impartial reviews of decisions made by WorkSafeBC. If you still do not agree with the decision, you can appeal to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal, a body independent of WorkSafeBC.

Access your Account Information 24/7

You can access to your account information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the WorkSafeBC website. Whether you're looking to file an accident report, report your payroll, or change your address, you’re not restricted by having to call during normal business hours; you can simply use the WorkSafeBC site to complete these tasks during the hours that suit you.

The Money Charged is Dedicated to Workers’ Compensation

WorkSafeBC does not operate to make a profit, so the premiums you pay go entirely towards funding the workers' compensation system for B.C. Any surplus funds from operations are returned to employers through rate reductions.

You Can Help Shape WorkSafeBC Policy

WorkSafeBC welcomes your input into the workers' compensation system. To respond to its latest policy proposal or survey, or learn about upcoming public hearings, visit Regulation and Policy on the WorkSafeBC web site.

Useful Links

Visit the WorkSafeBC website to find out more on:

About Small Business BC

When you find yourself asking "How do I...?" Give us a call. We'd be happy to help.