Starting this year, almost everyone in the construction industry must have WSIB coverage, but the cost concerns small, independent contractors.

The rules for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board changed at the beginning of 2013 to require independent operators, sole proprietors and others to have coverage for their employees.

But the cost, about $9 for every $100 earned up to a maximum of $7,500, has some contractors concerned it’s going to cost them business.

One contractor, who didn’t want to be named, says “If I want to compensate for this I have to charge the homeowner, but people in Ontario don’t have the money anymore.”

Home builders will also face higher administrative costs as part of the change.

Ted Melchers of the London Homebuilders’ Association says “We have to make sure that everyone we hire has coverage through WSIB. Otherwise if we get audited we’re responsible for those payments.”

Melchers says the Ministry of Labour was aiming to limit fly-by-night operators with the regulations.

But contractors say that because they have to raise their rates to adjust for the cost, people may choose to hire those who aren’t doing things by the book.

The Ontario Contractor and Small Business Association has launched a website opposing the legislation.