What’s the CNESST’s role?
The CNESST is the government insurer for Québec’s workers and employers. Under this mandatory insurance plan, victims of work-related accidents or diseases are compensated.
- To victims of a work-related accident or disease, the CNESST provides financial support and access to medical aid and rehabilitation services;
- To employers, who finance the plan by paying premiums (assessments), the CNESST provides assistance so that they can eliminate dangers in the workplace.
The CNESST is also concerned with the prevention of work-related accidents and diseases. It promotes various measures aimed at creating safe workplaces and supports employers in applying those measures.
Questions and answers
I have a job. Am I covered in the event of a work-related accident?
Yes. Once you’re being paid wages by an employer, whether you’re working full-time or part-time, whether you’re unionized or not, you’re automatically insured by the CNESST from your first day of work. There’s no minimum age to be covered. The insurance doesn’t cost you a cent and you don’t have to register anywhere to be entitled to it.
Am I covered even if my employer hasn’t paid its premiums?
Yes. You’re still fully covered by the CNESST.
Do I have to be unionized to be covered by the CNESST?
No. You don’t have to be unionized to be covered. Once you’re getting wages from an employer, you’re automatically insured by the CNESST if you have a work-related accident or contract an occupational disease.
How are indemnities calculated and paid?
For the actual day of the accident, your employer must pay you your full wages as if you had worked the whole day. For the first 14 days after your accident, your employer must pay you 90% of your net wages for every day or partial day that you would normally have worked. It must apply for reimbursement from the CNESST.
From the 15th day, the CNESST will pay you an indemnity equal to 90% of your net income. If you’re a worker pursuing studies, special rules may apply.
Are all workers covered by the CNESST?
No. Self-employed workers (called "independent operators"), domestics, volunteers, professional athletes and persons hired by an individual to care for another person (a child, an invalid, a handicapped person or an elderly person) are not covered by the CNESST. However, independent operators and domestics may be entitled to personal coverage under certain conditions.
I’m looking after my neighbour’s children. Am I covered by the CNESST?
No. If you’re taking care of children, an invalid or an elderly person, or if you do housework for an individual, you’re not considered hired by an employer and therefore you’re not covered if you have a work-related accident. If you’re given accommodation to do your job, you’re regarded as a domestic and in that case, you could obtain legal coverage by making a written application to the CNESST and paying the prescribed premium.
I deliver newspapers in my neighbourhood. Am I covered?
Yes. If you deliver daily or weekly newspapers, you’re considered to be a paper carrier, and as such, you’d be entitled to indemnities in the event of a work-related accident or disease. Your indemnities would be calculated according to CNESST rules, but paid by your employer. Your employer must take out insurance for that purpose.
If you deliver pamphlets, circulars or phone books, you’re not considered a paper carrier, but rather the same as any other worker, and therefore covered by the CNESST.
I do volunteer work. Am I covered by the CNESST?
You’re covered by the CNESST during your volunteer working hours only if the organization you work for has previously applied for coverage with the CNESST. You should check this with your employer.
I work at a farm in the summer. Am I covered by the CNESST?
Yes. You’re covered if you receive wages from a farmer operating a farming business in Québec.
During the summer, I pick fruit in British Colombia. Am I covered by the CNESST?
No. If you work for an employer outside Québec that does not have an establishment or office in Québec, you’re not covered by the CNESST. However, you are covered by a body similar to the CNESST in the province that you’re working in. You should find out about this from the body of that province or from your employer.
In the summer, I do painting, lawn-mowing and window-washing for residents in my town. Am I covered by the CNESST?
No. Because you work for yourself, you're regarded as an "independent operator" and therefore not covered by the CNESST. But you could be covered if you apply for coverage and pay the prescribed premium.