Insurance Info


Disclaimer: The information contained in this posting is for general information purposes. It is provided by the HBPA and while we have endeavored to give a true and accurate representation of this information the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba has the final say in all matters related to the coverage they offer and should be consulted should further information or clarification be required.

The Worker’s Compensation Board of Manitoba has provided written notice that the Manitoba Horse Racing Industry has been legislated as a Mandatory Coverage Industry. This coverage is more extensive than the coverage the HBPA was previously able to provide to the Horsemen. Anyone covered under WCB waives the right to sue in the event of a work place injury.

Who must be covered to work on the Backstretch of ASD effective 2017?All Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Grooms, Exercise Riders, Pony Riders, Farriers, Feed Suppliers, and Tradesmen must have WCB coverage under one of two scenarios;

  • they are an employee and therefore covered under their employer’s WCB account


  • they are self-employed; for example (but not limited to): Trainers, Farriers

Please note the WCB has their own definition of employed:  If you are in a mandatory Industry, everyone who works for your business is considered a worker and is entitled to workers compensation coverage regardless of:

  • The number of hours they work (full time, part time or casual)
  • The structure of their pay (salaried, hourly, commission, piece work, and even if they work for room and board)
  • The nature of their work
  • The location (at the track, in Mb or traveling outside Mb) If a groom ships to Edmonton to run a horse for a Trainer he works for in Manitoba, he will be covered. If an Exercise Rider goes to a farm to gallop a horse for a trainer he will be covered.

Although self-employed Trainers are required by law to provide WCB coverage for their employees, they themselves are not covered unless they choose to buy WCB coverage.

However, the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission may rule to make their coverage mandatory. We will keep you posted.

Owners are not workers. They are not receiving payment; monetary or in kind, for work performed. There is no coverage for Owners from Workers Compensation.

To Register

To register your business, information on coverage, rates, classifications and payroll reporting call Assessment Services 204-954-4505 or toll free 1-855-954-4321, ext.  4505 or you can register online at

Information you will need to provide:

  • Legal name of business entity (i.e. ownership)
  • WCB Account Number (if known)
  • 9-digit Business Number (if known);
  • Business contact information;
  • Date workers were/will be hired;
  • Estimated annual gross payroll;

The CoverageReimbursement of Medical expenses, resulting directly from a workplace injury, may include:

  • The cost of an Ambulance ride to a health care facility
  • Treatment by a physician or chiropractor
  •  Hospital, medical, and physiotherapy costs  (limits apply and are based on the individual claim)
  • Prescriptions
  • If travel is required for proper treatment, transportation and living allowances may be covered
  • Dental treatment
  • Artificial limbs, braces, crutches, canes, hearing aids or other aids prescribed by a physician
  • Orthotic alteration of footwear
  • Repair of prosthetic device, dentures, eyeglasses or clothing; lost wages related to the repair of these devices may also be covered
  • Some provisions apply If an injury is pro-longed (over 104 weeks), permanent or fatal. Contact WCB for details.
  • Wage replacement income based on net income with a provision for your dependency status (can you claim any dependents on your Income Tax) Once a claim has been assessed, benefits are retroactive to the first day after the accident or injury.

Cost to Employers

The WCB has advised for 2017 based on our industry risk, our coverage rate will be $1.98 for every $100.of payroll. For more detailed info please visit their website at email them at assessment or call them at 204-954-4505 or toll free at 1 855-954-4321, ext. 4505.

Payment optionsBy installments, pre authorized automatically deducted from your bank account or charged to  your credit card, electronic banking, in person at your financial institution or WCB offices or by mail.

The minimum yearly assessment premium is $100. for all businesses.

Contact Information

Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba

333 Broadway Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 4W3


Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

For all departments: 204-954-4321 Toll free 1-855-954-4321

To register your business, information on coverage, rates, classifications and payroll reporting call Assessment Services 204-954-4505 or toll free 1-855-954-4321, ext.  4505

Information you will need to provide:

  • Legal name of business entity (i.e. ownership);
  • WCB Account Number (if known);
  • 9-digit Business Number (if known);
  • Business contact information;
  • Date workers were/will be hired;
  • Estimated annual gross payroll;


Exercise Riders / Pony Riders (EPR's)– Self-employed or an Employee?
The WCB understands that EPR’s will come to the backstretch daily during the season and move from trainer to trainer asking if they would like a horse exercised. EPR’s set their own fees, presently between $10-$12 per horse for morning work. So the EPR’s perform the service and move on to the next trainer. The EPR’s have no control over the relationship between themselves and the trainer who pays them. They can negotiate their piece work wage and can also refuse to ride/pony a particular horse or work for a particular Trainer, but little else. If the horse gets injured while being exercised, the EPR has no responsibility to the owner of the horse or the trainer. In other words if a horse goes lame while being exercised the EPR would not have to pay the veterinary bill or rehabilitation costs for the horse. These costs can be significant and probably remain with the owner. The EPR does not have liability insurance or any financial responsibility over the relationship. The EPR has made no significant financial investment to provide their riding service.
The WCB definition of self-employed is somewhat different than Revenue Canada’s: When an Exercise Rider/Pony rider files their income tax return they list gross self-employed income and deducts related expenses to claim net self-employed income or loss.

Casual workers are still workers and are covered for WCB purposes. The only time a casual worker is not covered is when they are employed otherwise than for the purposes of the employer’s trade or business. For example if a trainer pays someone out of pocket a few dollars to pick up their dry cleaning (Note they paid out of pocket not out of the books required to run the business.) then coverage is not in place. This is confirmed in section 1(3) (d) of The Workers Compensation Act. However if a trainer pays anyone a few dollars out of pocket to ride, groom or provide any service related to maintaining a horse, then coverage is in effect.

The issue is not who the individual is; a trainer or an EPR. The issue is how much control does the individual have over who is paying them – the flow of money. The more control they have the more likely they are an employer or an independent contractor. The less control they have, the more likely they are a worker.

The individual’s occupation is not determinative. What is determinative is the nature of one person’s working relationship with the person paying them. The main focus would be on control over the relationship including control of money also what investment does a freelance rider make to show they are self-employed? The WCB cannot sell personal coverage to a worker. Therefore the individual has to prove they are not a worker (this would mean that they are self-employed) before we sell them personal coverage.

So in Manitoba could a freelance Exercise Rider/Pony Rider apply for their own account?
Yes, any individual can apply for their own account. WCB will ask the applicant several questions and make their decision based on the answers.
When registering for an account, does an employer have to list who is going to work for them?
No. When registering for an account, you as an employer do not provide the names of your employees; you would only need to provide WCB with your estimation of payroll information.

So if you hired another trainer’s full time groom to paddock your horse, you would simply claim the amount you’re paying that groom to paddock under your own payroll information.

Is there any way to check to ensure a Trainer has a valid account?
Clearance letters are available from WCB website to the MHRC. A Clearance letter confirms the employer is 1] registered and 2] in good standing – does not owe the WCB any money. Once the MHRC registers as an online user for Clearances, they can enter all of the account numbers of everyone that needs to be registered. The WCB would then email the MHRC if anyone on the list cancels a registration or fails to make a required payment.
Are WCB requirements the same Canada wide? North American wide?
Each province has its own separate workers compensation act. Therefore the coverage rules are different in each jurisdiction. You may want to contact the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada to ask if they can assist in either canvassing the other Boards regarding coverage, or provide you with the appropriate contact person regarding coverage issues at each of the other boards.
Are Farriers considered to be working for the Trainer they are currently shoeing a horse for? Or are they considered self-employed?

The WCB classifies based on industry. Once an industry is compulsory, all occupations in that industry are compulsory. Farriers are in a compulsory industry and depending on the nature of the working relationship with the person paying them will determine if they are self-employed.

If the “feed man” has grown his own hay, we would probably consider them to be a farmer. Farmers have a legislated exemption, but have to cover any workers they employ.

Casual workers are still workers and are covered if they are working in a compulsory industry and are paid out of the business. If they are employed other than the purposes of the employers business, then the casual worker does not have coverage.

The barn area opens up at the end of February for Trainers to have hay , straw and feed delivered, get their stalls set up, horses moved in farrier work done. The training track opens March 1.  There is no one in the Licensing office until the middle to the end of March.

If a Trainer does not set up an account prior to employing workers on the grounds;

1) Will he have coverage?  Yes the workers are covered. Is there a window of time allowed between employing help and applying for coverage? It is our preference, and in their best interest that Employers register as soon as they start to employ workers. However, we allow up to 6 months for the employer to register.  

2) Will he incur a penalty/fine when he does register? Yes, there are late filing and late payment penalties.

If the employer does have an account, but his premium payments are in arrears, and someone working for him gets hurt will the injured worker be covered? Yes. The worker is not denied a claim because the employer has not paid. What would the consequences be to the employer? The Trainer will be required to pay the arrears and will be fined.

Would it be possible to have a WCB employee sitting in the Horsemen’s Restaurant for a few days starting March 1, 2017 to help horsemen complete their registration in person and to answer their questions?
The easiest way to complete a registration is to have the horsemen register online, or by them phoning us. However I can appreciate there may be several ongoing questions from the horsemen. If they arrange to have a horsemen’s meeting, I could come out for 1-2 hours and explain WCB coverage to them. Would that help? Yes, that is a great idea and the HBPA will set that up.
We are also seeking clarity as it relates to “ship-in” trainers (Alberta, Minnesota, Saskatchewan, etc.) – who arrive for a few days for stakes races…do they have to get a number specific for Manitoba or if they already have a WCB account in their own Province or State does that provide them coverage?
Coverage is specific to the jurisdiction. Anyone coming onto Manitoba would have to get coverage from the Manitoba WCB. If they bring workers with them they have to cover the workers. If they are independent contractors they can chose to purchase personal coverage or not. If they do not choose to purchase Manitoba WCB coverage then there is potential liability in the event of an accident.