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How do I know if my contractor is actually licensed & insured?

We have been asked this question more than a few times & now, in the age of internet & smartphones, it is much easier for homeowners to check information for themselves.

There are 3 areas you should look into; trade licenses, commercial general liability insurance & WSIB.

Trade Licenses

"Compulsory" licensed trades such as electricians, plumbers, gas fitters etc will usually carry a trade card which you can ask to see. Alternatively, visit www.collegeoftrades.ca where you can input the name of your contractor to check that they are licensed to undertake such work.

However, many trades including carpentry, roofing, stone masonry, drywall, plastering, painting & decorating etc are known as "voluntary" trades and are not required to register with the College of Trades...so what else can you do to check that they are legitimate?


Ask your contractor to show you his WSIB account online. If his premiums are up to date it will clearly state "eligible for clearance certificates" - if not it will state "ineligible for clearance certificates" usually meaning his premiums are not up to date.

You can also ask your contractor to print out a "clearance status" confirming his WSIB account is up to date.

If a contractor refuses to do either of these, it's a fairy good indicator that either he does not have WSIB or that his premiums are not up to date - by the way, a document showing that a WSIB account has been opened does not prove that the account is in good standing; in the same way that an annual insurance certificate is not proof that premiums have been paid.

CGL Insurance

Of course, when we talk about an "insured" contractor we're not just talking about WSIB (which is only accident insurance for the contractor & his employees) we also mean commercial general liability insurance (CGL).

The best way to obtain proof of CGL is to ask your contractor to have his broker e-mail a "proof of insurance" direct to you. This is a standard form providing a brief overview of the contractor's policy which will be dated as proof that his premiums are up to date.

This is common practice and only takes a few minutes; a request is emailed or telephoned to the broker giving the client's name, email address and project address and the proof can be emailed direct to the client within minutes.

If your contractor tells you his broker does not provide this service ask him for the name of the company and his policy number and make the call yourself.

Spending a little time fact-checking is a good investment of your time and will help to safeguard your home & personal wealth.

We hope you find this informative and it enables you to find a great contractor with whom you can build a trusting, long-term, working relationship. If you have any questions at all either call or message us, respond to this blog or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gafrasercustomcontracting - we will be happy to help!

Christmas Toy Box Giveaway

We are giving away a 2'x4' toy box just in time for Christmas! For photos and details of how to win please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gafrasercustomcontracting

Good luck and Merry Christmas everyone!


We recently applied for a building permit for a client in Peterborough. Did you know the following wording is now included in all building permits issued in Peterborough:

"If the contractor is not covered by the Workplace Safety Insurance Act, the Owner will be responsible for accidents which may occur on the job."

The problem is, of course, that your homeowner insurance may not cover this type of claim, so this is something definitely worth checking - before your contractor starts work!


We recently changed the name of the business from "G A Fraser Custom Carpentry" to "G A Fraser Custom Contracting" as this better describes our business activities. We took the opportunity of creating a new website which we hope you like and thought a blog would make an interesting addition. We hope to keep you updated with new ideas, new products and new concepts as well as tips and advice for homeowners.....and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
G A Fraser
Custom Contracting


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