Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor

You’ve made the decision to have electrical work done in your home. Now it’s time to hire the right person for the job.

Perhaps you talk to a few friends for referrals, or search ads for qualified electricians. But it’s not actually a qualified electrician you want to search for. That’s because in Ontario, if you’re hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, by law, it must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor.

What’s the difference? Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) are the only businesses, with some exemptions such as HVAC installers, in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work in your home. Qualified electricians are employed by Licensed Electrical Contractors. An electrician is not permitted to perform work for hire unless they are employed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.

Here are three things to help ensure you’re hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor:

  1. Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can provide you with an ECRA/ESA licence number that proves they can operate their electrical contracting business in Ontario. This licence number should appear on their vehicles, business cards and estimates. Ask to see it.
  2. Licensed Electrical Contractors will be able to provide you with documentation (Certificate of Acceptance) from ESA once the work is complete, for your records. Keep this for insurance purposes.
  3. If you’re using a general contractor, interior designer or other trade professional who subcontracts the electrical work, confirm they’ve hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor for the electrical work. Also confirm the Licensed Electrical Contractor will be arranging the required electrical notification of work to the ESA. General handymen, or freelance electricians not working for a Licensed Electrical Contractor can’t do electrical work in your home unless their business holds an electrical contractor licence number.

Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor is the Safest Decision to Make

Electrical work is dangerous and can put you and your loved ones at risk.

Leave your electrical work to a Licensed Electrical Contractor, who has the expertise, equipment and training to do the job safely. You may know someone who can do the work cheap, but consider the real cost if something went wrong. Hiring the wrong person can result in major property damage, or even loss of life.

All Licensed Electrical Contractors:

  • Are required to be fully insured
  • will arrange for notifications to the ESA
  • are qualified to perform the type of electrical work you need
  • can offer an ESA Certificate of Acceptance
  • can provide references

All of this helps protect you and ensure safe electrical work

Licensed Electrical Contractors are Required to be Insured for your Protection

If you hire an unlicensed electrician who gets hurt on the job, you’re responsible.

If an insurance claim links to work performed by an unlicensed electrician, your claim may be denied.

Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can give you peace of mind. They can file the electrical notification of work to the ESA and request an inspection. They can provide an ESA Certificate of Acceptance for your insurance company. Always remember to ask for a copy.

Know the Difference

Be careful who you allow to perform electrical work in your home. You may think that experience with electrical projects qualifies a handy-person for the work or if your general contractor recommends them, you’ll be fine. But electrical mistakes can be costly and deadly. That’s why you need to file notifications of work for things as "simple" as pot light installations.

Remember: you can always verify or find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in your area by using ESA’s easy look-up tool.