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Established in 1985, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) is the final level of appeal to which workers and employers may bring disputes concerning workplace safety and insurance matters in Ontario. WSIAT has always been separate from and independent of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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  Decision 606 18
4/12/2018
J. Moore

  • Assessment of employers (retroactivity)
  • Detrimental reliance
  • Executive officers (construction industry)

As of January 1, 2013, executive officers in the construction industry were deemed to be workers, pursuant to s. 12.2(1) of the WSIA. Following an audit of the employer by the Board in mid-2014, the Board assessed the employer with premiums, retroactive to January 1, 2013, for the executive officer, who was deemed to be a worker. In September 2014, the employer filed a request for exemption from compulsory coverage, pursuant to O. Reg. 47/09, which was allowed by the Board.
The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying retroactive relief from the assessment for the period from January 1, 2013, to September 2014.
The employer submitted that it detrimentally relied on the Board and that, accordingly, the Board should be estopped from retroactively assessment the employer with premiums.
The Vice-Chair noted that ignorance of a law does not preclude application of the law to an individual. In any event, there were no false or misleading statements by the Board regarding the status of the executive officer. The legislative changes put the onus on the employer to take the steps under the regulation to avoid having one of its executive officer considered a deemed worker. Further, the Board conducted an extensive media campaign prior to enactment of the changes. The Board also sent mailings to all construction employers regarding the changes and the availability of exemptions under the regulation. In addition, the Premium Remittance Form included notification of the changes on the over side.
The employer was not entitled to retroactive relief from the assessment for the period in question. The appeal was dismissed.