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Workers compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in Manitoba. When your business activities fall within a mandatory industry and you pay earnings to workers you are required to register to cover your workers. Your workers include any family members that work in your business and are paid out of your business. The only exception to this is Family farming operations that can choose to cover family members.   If you fall within an optional industry - that is, an industry that isn't required to have WCB coverage - you may choose to cover all your workers by purchasing optional coverage.

If you're a business owner in an industry that has traditionally hired contract labour, such as Construction, Trucking, Oil or Gas Wells and don't pay workers above the annual minimum earnings amount, you may be deemed a worker of any principal that hires you. A principal is an employer who is responsible for paying for the worker's coverage. 

For 2020, the annual minimum earnings is $25,290. This may include out of province payroll, as well as payroll from any other businesses owned by you, and earnings you paid to registered contractors. This excludes Directors, Partners or Sole Proprietors; in both mandatory and optional industries, they can choose to cover themselves by purchasing Personal Coverage that is specific for business owners.

As an employer, your legal obligations under the Workers Compensation Act are to:

  • Submit accurate payroll information and confirm your business activities in a timely manner in order for the WCB to determine premiums;
  • Pay premiums in a timely manner and not pass on the cost of coverage to workers;
  • Make sure that the contractors or subcontractors your business works with comply with WCB requirements;
  • Report workplace injuries to the WCB within five business days of becoming aware of them;
  • Allow injured workers to file an injury claim with the WCB and not take any action to discourage them from doing so;
  • Advise the WCB when injured workers return to work following an absence due to a workplace injury; and
  • Re-employ injured workers you have employed for at least twelve continuous months before the date of their injury (this applies only to businesses with 25 or more full-time or regular part-time workers)

If I don't meet the definition of an Employer, what other obligations might I have?

If you do not employ workers or do not have employee payroll above the WCB's annual minimum, you may be considered one of the following:

  • Independent contractors are those individuals who are self-employed and employ no others.
  • Small businesses are those who have a payroll of less than the minimum annual earnings.
  • Workers are those individuals who work under a contract of service or apprenticeship.

The WCB will determine if you are considered an independent business or small business and are able to register or if you are considered a worker of any principal that hires you.

Generally, you're considered an independent business if you have your own establishment, or own/lease major equipment and have control over all aspects of your operation.

To learn more, visit our Apply for Coverage page or contact Assessment Services at 204-954-4505 or 1-855-954-4321, ext. 4505.

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