WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FOR BUSINESSES OWNERS:

PERSONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGE

We insure our cars, houses, valuable items, and the equipment essential to our businesses, but what about ourselves? Employees are all covered under the workers’ compensation system, but does everyone in your workplace have coverage in the event of an accident or injury? 

It is important to know that self-employed individuals, business owners, partners, and registered directors do not automatically receive Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) coverage during their employment. 

Personal Optional Coverage is the solution. It provides business owners with the same coverage as other workers in your organization in the event of workplace disease or injury.  Whether you are an artist, a carver, an outfitter, run a home-based business, or you’re the owner of a business with or without employees, you can make the decision to opt-in for this coverage.

What is No-Fault Workers’ Compensation?

The WSCC promotes workplace health and safety while providing a no-fault insurance system that protects both the employers who pay for it and the workers who receive benefits. Regardless of how an injury occurred, the compensation system provides benefits for those with compensable workplace injuries. 

Ensuring you have coverage in the event of an injury is an important decision and could be a lifeline during a worst-case scenario for you and your family. Personal Optional Coverage will provide you with these benefits in the event of a workplace injury: 

• Compensation for lost income based on the amount of coverage purchased;

• Reimbursement  for health care costs relating to the workplace injury;

• Medical rehabilitation relating to the workplace injury; and

• In the event of a long term injury, a pension based on the amount of coverage purchased.

Flexible Coverage

You can apply for coverage for as little as one month, or up to an entire year. If you run a seasonal business, you can apply for coverage during the time that your business is operating. You can purchase coverage at any point throughout the year. Your coverage will begin on the date the application is received, or on a future date indicated on the form. Coverage cannot be backdated. 

If you want continuous coverage from year to year, you simply have to re-apply before December 31st every year. This will ensure that there is no break in your coverage.

You set the level of income that you choose to cover. There is a yearly maximum level of income set by the WSCC’s Governance council and an independent actuary; this is called the Yearly Maximum Insurable Remuneration, or YMIR. You can choose to insure for as much as 100% of the YMIR, as little as 37%, or anywhere in between. For 2020, the YMIR is set at $94,500, which means the minimum coverage you can opt into would be for $34,965.

How to get Personal Optional Coverage

There are two ways to opt into coverage. If you need to register your business with the WSCC, visit WSCC Connect at: connect.wscc.nt.ca. Set up a WSCC Connect user account and once you have verified your user account, go to the My Connect tab, where you can click Registering Your Business. During the registration process, it will give you the option to opt-in for Personal Optional Coverage.If your business is already registered with the WSCC, simply visit our website at wscc.nt.ca or wscc.nu.ca, and find the Register a Business tab on our Employer Services page. You will find the form at the bottom of the page. Submit your completed form to employer@wscc.nt.ca or employernu@wscc.nu.ca.
A WSCC employee will contact you to confirm your coverage. 

Safety Resources

Whether you choose to opt-in or not for Personal Optional Coverage, safety should always be top priority for your business. The WSCC’s website is filled with information on topics essential for Northern employers:

• Occupational Health and Safety guide for small businesses

• Templates for hazard assessments and safety checklists.

• Codes of Practice, Safety Toolbox Talks, and Safety Bulletins covering a variety of subjects important for Northern workers

• Tools for new and young workers

• Our Occupational Health and Safety App, which contains information about safety legislation.

These downloadable tools can help you build an effective safety program. The WSCC encourages every employer and worker to recognize the responsibility that all of us share in making our workplaces safe and healthy. ABQ

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