(Q) We just scored a large tender in the NWT. As an AB-based contractor, are my crews covered by WCB-AB or should I register with WCB-NWT?
(A) According to WCB policy, workers who live in Alberta are eligible to have WCB coverage extended while working out of province provided certain conditions are satisfied. First off, a worker must be considered a resident of Alberta, i.e., is a permanent resident, holds a bank account, has registered vehicles or assets, and/or pays provincial taxes to the Alberta government.
In addition, the nature of employment inside and outside the province of Alberta must be the same. For example, a heavy-equipment operator would not be covered if his/her job scope changed to, say, metal fabrication.
Assuming the foregoing conditions are met (residency and nature of employment) a worker is automatically covered for any work they do outside the province for up to 12 continuous months. If their work extends beyond one year, the employer must send the Board a written request for extension.
However, to complicate matters, each province and territory has its own workers’ compensation legislation. And the laws in any given jurisdiction where work is performed tend to supersede all others. What this means, specific to the NWT in your case, is that you must register with the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) in Yellowknife. Why exactly? Because according to NWT legislation, out of province workers must register with WSCC if the duration of their employment exceeds 10 days. And because the project will be undertaken in the NWT, territorial legislation governs over Alberta’s.
Key takeaway: always contact the WCB office (or equivalent) in the jurisdiction in which you’ll be working to determine whether additional coverage is required.