Most employers in Nova Scotia are required by law through the Workers’ Compensation Act and Regulations to register their business/firm with the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and pay premiums.
Generally, registration is mandatory if you are an employer:
- Conducting business in a mandatory industry (e.g., hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, fishing, trucking, construction and other manufacturing.)
- and you have three or more workers at one time.
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If coverage is not mandatory, you can purchase workplace injury insurance in the form of special protection coverage or voluntary coverage -- and protect you, your business and workers in the event of workplace injury.
Special protection coverage is available for:
- Proprietors and partners of a business.
- Family members of an employer (proprietor, partner, or officer / director of an incorporation) living in the employer's household
- Workplace Injury insurance coverage is available for employers not in a mandatory industry and for employers with less than three workers, and for employees who are family members of an employer (proprietor, partner, or officer / director of an incorporation) living in the employer's household.
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Determining the Number of Workers
The three-worker rule is used to determine whether coverage is required. For this purpose, we count the following people as workers:
- Permanent, casual, full-time and part-time workers
- Officers and directors of the company
- (sub) contractors who work in mandatory industries, and their workers
- Family members of proprietors, partners, officers and directors of the company.
Employers who conduct business in a ‘mandatory industry’ must register within 10 days of hiring the third worker.
In a proprietorship:
- the proprietor is not covered and does not count in the number of workers. However, all other regular employees on payroll and subcontractors hired by the firm are counted. Voluntary coverage is available for the Proprietor under Special Protection.
In a partnership:
- partners of the firm are not covered and do not count in the number of workers. However, all other regular employees on payroll and subcontractors hired by the firm are counted. Voluntary coverage is available for the Proprietor under Special Protection.
In an incorporated (limited) company:
- Officers (ie: President, Vice-president, Secretary/Treasurer) or directors paid solely for attending directors meetings, do not count in the number of workers as they are not active in the business.
- Officers or directors do count as workers if they are active in the business, regardless of if they take a wage. As well, all other regular employees on payroll and subcontractors hired by the firm are counted.
Proprietors and partners are not required to have workplace injury insurance. Similarly, family members of an employer (proprietor, partner, or officer / director of an incorporation) living in the employer's household are not required to have coverage. For these workers, special protection coverage is available.
About Special Protection
Special Protection is available in amounts of coverage from a minimum of $10,200 per year up to the maximum assessable earnings figure confirmed by us at the beginning of each year. The coverage is renewable every year and becomes effective when both the application and full payment are received by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia.
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NOTE: If a proprietor or partner obtains Special Protection for themselves, they are required to cover any workers they may hire. The three person rule no longer applies.
Any employer, who is not required to register for workers' compensation under the Act, may apply for voluntary coverage. You can also apply for coverage for your workers even if you have less than three workers. Once registered, employers have the same rights and responsibilities as those for whom registration is mandatory.
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Any family member who lives in the same household of a proprietor, partner, or officer of a limited company and works for the company is counted as a worker but is not mandatory for coverage. Voluntary coverage is available under Special Protection.
Out of Province Firms
If you are a firm that is based outside of Nova Scotia, you will need to apply for coverage if:
- You work in a mandatory industry and
- You have three or more workers in the province for five or more days in a calendar year
Read the Employer Information Guide to learn more.