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Advertising for Illegal Electrical Work Costs Unlicensed Contractor $12,500

Court sends strong message to those attempting to work outside the law

Mississauga, ON (September 13, 2017) – On August 29, 2017 Yvon Richer of Orleans, Ontario was convicted in an Ottawa court and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine plus a 25 per cent ($2,500) victim fine surcharge for advertising for electrical work without a licence.

This latest conviction follows a history of non-compliance. In 2014 Richer was convicted by Provincial Offences Court in Ottawa on two counts: working without an electrical contractor’s licence and failing to take out a permit for electrical work. He received a fine of $1,000 plus a victim fine surcharge on each count.

“Electrical safety is a partnership and we all have a role to play,” says Scott Saint, Chief Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “ESA has dedicated resources to help combat contractors from doing electrical work without a licence which is what helped secure this conviction. It is also the responsibility of homeowners to do their homework and make sure the contractors they hire are properly licensed. Your family’s safety is at stake when you take shortcuts with electrical work.”

Every year, ESA receives hundreds of reports about illegal electrical work being conducted in Ontario, including reports involving contractors advertising illegally. ESA’s Licensing team has developed an approach to intercept illegal advertising online, including targeted efforts with Kijiji. These efforts led to two convictions, including Richer’s, multiple investigations, and more than 500 warnings issued. In addition, 70 per cent of the advertisements ESA has identified on Kijiji have been removed.

“In Ontario, only Licensed Electrical Contractors are legally allowed to perform electrical work for hire and advertise to engage to perform electrical work,” says Normand Breton, Registrar, Contractor Licensing, Electrical Safety Authority. ”Unfortunately, we see too many examples of unlicensed contractors advertising for electrical services, which is against the law. Although online sites and referrals can be a good way to source trades, business owners and homeowners must verify the contractor is licensed before hiring. Electrical Contractors are required to display their licence number on all ads, and you can easily verify the licence using ESA’s online look-up tool.”

If anyone believes Richer conducted work on their property, contact ESA’s Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) and ESA can provide assistance to help ensure the electrical work that has been done is safe and to code.

ESA recommends homeowners who have concerns about electrical work that has been completed in their home go back to their electrical contractor and ask for a copy of the ESA Certificate of Acceptance. This document confirms the work was done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and is important for resale and insurance purposes, as well as peace of mind. If the contractor is not able to produce one, ESA’s Customer Service Centre can help confirm whether a permit was taken out and address their concerns.

To verify or find a Licensed Electrical Contractor, visit

About the Electrical Safety Authority

The Electrical Safety Authority's (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.

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