Notifications and Inspections: What you Need to Know
Planning a renovation? Updating the kitchen or bathroom? Adding new lighting? If your project involves new electrical wiring or devices or repairing/replacing old ones, follow the law and do it safely. Don’t let your home improvement dream become a nightmare.
Follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
Hire only a Licensed Electrical Contractor
File a Notification of Work with ESA
Make sure a Request for Inspection is submitted
Get a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.
- Follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
Electrical installation, repair and replacement work must meet the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. The Code specifies how to safely do electrical work. The Code is updated every few years to include new technology and improved safety practices. Always refer to the current edition of the Code. Buy a Code book.
- Hire only a Licensed Electrical Contractor
If you hire someone to do electrical work in your home, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor. General service providers need an ECRA/ESA licence to do electrical work in your home. If you hire a general contractor, confirm that a Licensed Electrical Contractor will do the electrical work. A Licensed Electrical Contractor must display their ECRA/ESA licence number. Ask to see it. Learn more about the benefits of using a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
- File a Notification of Work with ESA
The Ontario Electrical Safety Code requires that most electrical work needs to be reported to the Electrical Safety Authority by filing a notification of work. ESA should be notified within 48 hours of when electrical work starts.
The person doing the electrical work must file the notification. If you’ve hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor, the contractor should file the notification. The contractor will also take care of the inspection process and calculate notification fees. Never take out a notification on behalf of someone else.
Having a building permit isn’t the same as filing an electrical notification. You may need both.
If you’re doing your own electrical work:
If you are doing your own electrical work, you will need to file the notification. To confirm requirements and file a notification, call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233). Fees vary according to the type of work you’re doing. There are two ways homeowners or occupants* of a home can file a notification:
1. Download a Notification form.
2. Call the ESA Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
*An occupant is someone living in or using a house as a tenant or owner; or someone who takes possession of a property with no known owner.
- Submit a Request for Inspection
If you’ve hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor, the contractor will file a notification of work with ESA and arrange the inspection process.
The inspection/review process may vary depending on the project. A complicated installation might need an inspection at several stages. New or renovated home electrical inspections may need one of two types of inspections:
1. Rough-in – This takes place when all branch circuit wiring and outlet boxes are installed and before wiring is hidden by insulation, vapour barrier, drywall, etc. See more in What is a rough-in inspection?
2. Final – Ask for the final inspection as soon as possible after completion of the electrical installation. See more in What is a final inspection?
If the work doesn't comply with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the Inspector will issue a “defect notice” outlining the necessary corrections to comply with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
If you’re doing your own electrical work:
You will need to request an notification for inspection before or as soon as possible after the work is started. An electrical installation must be inspected before it’s concealed (based on the type of inspection needed – see above). If you already filed a notification, you may submit an online Request for Inspection to ESA. For faster service, call the Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
Every electrical installation (building, property and/or service) must be clearly identified with its Civic/Fire Identification number and/or Lot Number to match the identification provided on the notification
Learn more about inspections:
- Obtain an ESA Certificate of Acceptance
If your electrical work has been reviewed and passed, ESA will issue a Certificate of Acceptance to the person who filed the notification. It’s an important document for insurance purposes, resale and peace of mind.
If your contractor filed the notification, ask for a copy of the certificate for your records. You can also call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) to request a copy.
The Electrical Safety Authority also offers services considered "non-regulatory."Learn more about these services.