Workers’ comp protects firms from lawsuits, but beware employees looking for loopholes

Whether or not someone is considered a contractor may cloud the issue
By Peter Israel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/29/2003

M

ost employers don’t have to worry about being sued by an injured employee. This is part of the historic trade-off of workers’ compensation schemes. But beware, injured employees may look for an opening that lets them sue, and whether or not someone is considered a contractor may cloud the issue.

In Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act stipulates workers cannot sue their employers in civil court for injuries suffered in the course of employment. Other provinces have similar systems. Under this no-fault system, employers pay a form of insurance premium referred to as the workers’ compensation assessment. In exchange, employers are protected from lawsuits brought by injured employees. Employees trade the right to sue in civil court, with its expense and burden of proving employer negligence, and gain the right to receive compensation through workers’ compensation.