Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor
To protect your home and family, hire only Licensed Electrical Contractors.
Electricity is extremely dangerous. Poor electrical work can have serious consequences, like electrical shocks, a house fire, even the death of yourself or a loved one. So, if you need electrical work done in your home, even something as seemingly simple as installing pot lights, never look to the underground economy for help. Just because you find someone who seems qualified, has good references, and offers a low rate does NOT mean you can count on them to provide safe electrical work.The only way to be sure that your electrical work is safe and legal is to hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) who gets a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority for the work.
On this page:
- What is a Licensed Electrical Contractor?
- The ways an LEC protects you
- How to make sure you hire an LEC
- Red flags to watch for
- Finding or verifying an LEC
Licensed Electrical Contractors are the only electrical service providers with an ECRA/ESA licence number. This licence number is proof that they have the expertise, equipment, and training to do the job safely. In Ontario, only Licensed Electrical Contractors (or electricians employed by a Licensed Electrical Contracting business) are legally authorized to be hired to do electrical work in your home. “Master Electricians” and “Certified Electricians” may work for a Licensed Electrical Contracting business, but they do not have an ESA licence themselves, so they can't be hired directly to do electrical work in your home.
When you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor, there are many ways that your smart decision will help keep your home and family safe.
- LECs are qualified and trained to perform the type of electrical work you need.
- LECs are fully insured, which is the only way to be sure that you, the homeowner, won’t be held responsible if there’s an accident on the job.
- LECs will provide references for you.
- LECs will file the electrical notification of work to the ESA, meaning that they’ll have a permit for the work.
- When the job is complete, LECs will have their work reviewed by the ESA.
- After approval, LECs will receive an ESA Certificate of Acceptance—a document that may be requested by your insurance company, and could be necessary for home resale.
There are steps you can take to help make sure your electrical work is safe.
- Ask to see the electrician’s licence number.
- Look for their licence number on their truck, business card, and estimate.
- Look them up on ESA’s Find a Contractor tool.
- If you’re working with a general contractor, ask them to make sure that the electrician they’re hiring is an LEC, and that they get an ESA permit.
If you notice any of the following, chances are the electrician you or your General Contractor hired may not actually be licensed.
- There’s no ECRA/ESA licence number on their work vehicle or estimate.
- The electrician won’t show you their licence number when you ask for it.
- They do more than just electrical work, like drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, or other home improvement.
- They don’t have all the appropriate paperwork, such as estimates, contracts, and professional licences.
- They ask you to get the ESA permit, or say you don’t need one.
- They offer a discount if you pay cash, they accept only cash, and/or won’t provide a receipt.
- They say you don’t need to involve your local electric utility to change your electrical panel or upgrade your electrical service.
- They say, “If anyone asks, tell them you did the work yourself.”
If you notice any of these red flags, it’s important that you report the company to the ESA so we can investigate.
If you suspect someone is doing electrical work without a licence, let us know.
The ESA takes safe, legal electrical work very seriously. It’s why we make it easy for you to find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in your area, and to check if the person you’re hiring is licensed to legally do electrical work in Ontario.
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.