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Registering with the CNESST: Your number one obligation!

IMPORTANT: The CNESST is currently sending out Classification Decisions for 2020.

Have you received yours?
Have you reviewed it carefully?


It is important to ensure that the description of the classification unit assigned by the CNESST matches your company's activities. If not, you have 30 days to challenge the decision.

Not sure how to challenge this decision? Call your CFIB Counsellor for help!



Congratulations! You’ve just hired your first worker!

Now you need to fulfil your first obligation as an employer: registration with the CNESST. Registration may also be required if you already have employees or if you hire self-employed workers. Learn more about this obligation to avoid unpleasant surprises, such as having to make retroactive contribution payments to the CNESST. 

Note: Registering as an employer with the CNESST is not difficult, but it is important to know when and how to do so!   


Who is required to register with the CNESST?

All companies with at least one full-time or part-time worker must register with the CNESST.

If you hire a self-employed person, he or she may be considered a worker in the eyes of the CNESST, and you may have to make contributions to insure this worker. This is the case if the self-employed person:

  • performs activities similar to or related to those of your business.
  • works for you for 420 hours or more a year.

Since each situation is different, it is safer to ask the CNESST to make the decision for you. Your CFIB Counsellor can be of great help during this process.

Do employers have to be insured through the CNESST?

As a company executive, you are not automatically insured in the event of a workplace accident. The CNESST does offer you the opportunity to take out personal insurance, but this is merely optional.

Registering with the CNESST: When and how.

You must complete your registration no later than 60 days following the first day that your first worker reports work. 
You can use either of these two methods:

Contribution rate assignment
Once the registration process is complete, you will receive a CNESST Classification Decision. This decision is based on the nature of your activities and the associated risks. Each classification unit is assigned a contribution rate representing the amount to be paid for every $100 of insurable salary. This rate is reviewed annually to take into account a company's claim record or all the other companies in the classification unit – which is why it's important to keep good records! 

Rate review
You may not agree with the classification unit that the CNESST has chosen for you. In this case, you have 30 days after receiving the Classification Decision to request a review. Please note that only the classification unit can be reviewed; it is not possible to challenge the contribution rate itself.

Paying your contributions
Payment of your contributions is due at the same time that you remit your other at-source deductions to Revenu Quebec.

Submitting the annual Statement of Wages
You must file and submit your Statement of Wages to the CNESST no later than March 15 of each year. This statement is used to verify that you have sufficiently paid all instalments for the year. Pay particular attention to the amounts to be included in and subtracted from your insurable payroll. The CNESST has created a Statement of Wages Guide that you can consult online. If you are unsure about anything, your CFIB Counsellor is just a phone call away!

Registering with the CNESST is mandatory!

We can never stress this enough: registering with the CNESST is not an option! If you fail to register, regardless of the reason, you will have to pay the following: 

  • contributions due since the hiring of your first worker,
  • a penalty for late instalments,
  • a penalty, with interest, for filing the Statement of Wages late

Have you fallen behind? Don't wait for your oversight to be discovered: take the lead and rectify the situation. It’s even possible that the CNESST will show leniency and waive certain fees or penalties. Don’t hesitate to call our Counsellors. They will be able to support you in this process.