As Ontario’s electrical safety regulator, ESA is focused on the safety and protection of Ontario consumers. We are committed to educating consumers on what they should know before hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor and protecting them from the serious risks associated with faulty electrical work.
It is important that Ontarians know that only Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) businesses are legally licensed to do electrical work for hire.
Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) are qualified, arrange for the proper notifications of work with ESA and are fully insured. A general contractor or handyperson may claim to be an electrician, but they cannot perform electrical work without a license from the ESA. Electrical services are performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor to ensure the work is done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
To protect Ontarians from the dangers of working with unlicensed electrical contractors, ESA reminds:
- Ask the electrician for their electrical contractor’s licence number and get an ESA Certificate of Inspection when the electrical work is complete. Call ESA's Customer Service Center at 1-877-ESA-SAFE, if in doubt.
- Check the Ministry of Government and Consumer Service’s Consumer Beware List, ESA convictions page and Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the electrician.
- Refuse an estimate made over the phone or without proper references to an ESA notification of work (also known as permit).
- Make sure the deposit is reasonable. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services recommends that consumers pay no more than 10 per cent as a deposit.
To ensure you are working with the right partner visit:
To learn more about how to identify an unlicensed contractor:
What happens if I don’t use a Licensed Electrical Contractor?
Unlicensed electrical contractors put homeowners and their families at risk and can result in financial losses, additional expenses, property damage or even loss of life. If an unlicensed contractor is injured on the job, the homeowner is held responsible. Also, home insurance claims that are traced to work done by an unlicensed contractor may be denied. Only Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) are skilled, trained and insured which provides protection to the homeowner.
What if I suspect there is something wrong with my Electrical Contractor?
If you have reason to suspect that someone who is not a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) is performing electrical work, or involves an LEC not meeting the requirements of their licence, you can file a report here.
Ontarians can help protect other consumers from unsafe work done by unlicensed contractors by anonymously reporting them to the ESA. An anonymous report can be filed here.
The ESA holds unlicensed service providers who operate in the underground economy accountable for their actions to prevent them from putting more consumers at risk. Depending on the gravity of the offense, ESA will inform, educate or prosecute the offender.