Finding the Right Contractor


With so many people out there offering to do electrical work, it can be confusing who to hire. Follow these tips to ensure you only hire an authorized expert to do electrical work in your home.

On this page:

What’s the Difference?

Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) are the only businesses in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work in your home. Qualified electricians and Master Electricians are not permitted to perform work for hire.

How to spot the differences:

Licensed Electrical Contracting Business – The only one you can hire.

  • The only business in Ontario who can be hired to do electrical work in your home.
  • They can request a notification (permit) from ESA, which ensures the safety of the work.
  • They have a 7-digit ECRA/ESA licence number that proves they are authorized to offer electrical work to the public in Ontario. It appears on their vehicles, business cards and estimates.
  • Always ask to see this number before you hire anyone for electrical work in your home. 

Certified Electricians – Do not hire.

  • Trades persons who have been trained and certified to do electrical work.
  • Employed by Licensed Electrical Contracting Businesses to do electrical work in your home.
  • Have certification from the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), proving that they are trained to do the job safely, but they cannot be hired directly to do electrical work.

Master Electricians – Do not hire.

  • Individuals licensed by ESA to manage and supervise the work performed by the Licensed Electrical Contracting Business.
  • Employed by Licensed Electrical Contracting Businesses.
  • They ensure all business requirements (labour laws, health, and safety regulations) are followed.
  • Have their own unique Master Electrician licence, but it is not the same as an ECRA/ESA licence, so they cannot be hired directly to do electrical work.

Unlicensed Electrical Contractors

Many unlicensed electrical contractors may offer their services at a lower rate, but there are consequences:

  • Their work has been found to be up to four times faultier than work done by licensed contractors.
  • If an unlicensed contractor gets hurt on the job, the homeowner may be responsible as the unlicensed contractor may not be insured.
  • Insurance claims linked to work performed by an unlicensed contractor may be denied by your insurance company.

Note: General Contractors are not licensed to do electrical work. Make sure that your General Contractor hires a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) to do any electrical work. Learn more about working with General Contractors.


Always ask to see the ECRA/ESA licence number before you hire someone to do electrical work in your home.


According to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, electrical work must be reported to the Electrical Safety Authority by filing a notification of work before the work starts. 

Whoever is doing the electrical work must be the one to file a notification of work with ESA. When you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor, they will do this for you.

It’s a red flag if a contractor asks you to file a notification of work in your name. They could be unlicensed and unlicensed work can be dangerous, even for the smallest job. It's important to stay safe and hire the right contractor. Visit this page for a list of other red flags.