Finding the Right Contractor
When looking to hire someone for electrical work, ensure you find an authorized expert. In Ontario, only a Licensed Electrical Contracting Business can be hired to do electrical work in your home. Licensed Electrical Contracting Businesses are bonded and insured, providing you with peace of mind.
On this page:
How to Tell the Difference
With so many people out there offering to do electrical work for you, it can be confusing. Only one can be hired to do electrical work in your home — a Licensed Electrical Contracting Business.
Here are a few tips to help you learn the difference:
Licensed Electrical Contracting Business
►The only one you can hire
In Ontario, it is the only business can be hired to do electrical work in your home.
- They can request a notification (permit) from ESA to inspect and ensure the safety of the work.
- They have a seven-digit ECRA/ESA license number that proves that they can operate in Ontario and authorized to offer electrical work to the public. It should appear on their vehicles, business cards and estimates.
- Always ask to see this number before you hire them for electrical work in your home.
►Do not hire
Trades persons who have been trained and certified to do electrical work.
- Certified Electricians are employed by Licensed Electrical Contracting Businesses to do electrical work in your home.
- They have a certification from the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), proving that they are trained to do the job safely.
- The OCOT certification number is not the same as an ECRA/ESA license number, so they cannot be hired directly to do electrical work in your home
►Do not hire
Individuals licensed by ESA to manage and supervise the work performed by the Licensed Electrical Contracting Business.
- Master Electricians are employed by Licensed Electrical Contracting Businesses.
- They ensure all business requirements (labour laws, health and safety regulations, etc.) are followed.
- Master Electricians have their own unique Master Electrician licence — it is not the same as an ECRA/ESA licence, so they cannot be hired directly to do electrical work in your home
Always ask to see the ECRA/ESA licence number before you hire someone to do electrical work in your home.Unlicensed Electrical Contractors
Many unlicensed electrical contractors may offer their services at a lower rate, but consider these 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 the insurance company.
Note: General Contractors are not licensed to do electrical work and they usually subcontract it. Verify any business subcontracted for electrical work has an ECRA/ESA licence number.
Filing a Notification
It’s important to remember whoever is doing the electrical work must be the one to file a notification of work with ESA.
According to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, electrical work must be reported to the Electrical Safety Authority by filing a notification of work within 48 hours of when it starts. The Licensed Electrical Contracting Business you hire will do this for you.
Download notification forms and learn more about how to file a notification of work.
It’s a red flag if a contractor asks you to file a notification of work in your name. They could be an unlicensed contractor, and you must be careful. Even if the electrical work is small, unlicensed work can be dangerous. That’s why it's important to stay safe when it comes to electrical work and hire the right contractor. Visit this page for a list of other red flags.
Get more information about the different types of contractors or filing a notification of work on our FAQs page.
Find A Licensed Electrical Contractor Near You
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.