FAQ

Contractor Licensing/Master Electricians

Can I get a notification if I don’t hold a current electrical contractor’s licence?

No, if you are operating as an electrical contracting business. In that case, you must hold a valid electrical contractor’s ECRA/ESA licence to file a notification of work.

Yes, you can file a notification if you are doing work on your own property or if you are an occupant in a residential dwelling. In that case, you may file a notification of work for that property only.

Am I allowed to quote on electrical work if I don’t have an ECRA/ESA contractor’s licence?

No. You must have a valid electrical contractor licence to bid on electrical work. 

I am a licensed Master Electrician. Can I quote on, advertise or perform electrical work without an Electrical Contractor’s licence?

No. A Master Electrician’s licence recognizes your specific experience. You must also hold a valid electrical contractor licence issued by ECRA/ESA to carry out electrical contracting work. Unless exempted by the Licensing Regulation, every electrical contracting business must hold this licence.

Can a licensed contractor sub-contract electrical work?

Yes, but only to another ECRA/ESA-Licensed Electrical Contractor.

Is a separate licence required in each municipality?

No, the ECRA/ESA licence allows electrical work to be done throughout Ontario.

Do HVAC contractors need an electrical contractor licence?

It depends on the work they are doing and the qualifications of the people doing the work.

Exemptions include: 

  • Refrigeration and air conditioning systems mechanics or residential air conditioning systems mechanics authorized under the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act. 
  • Work done on electrical components of appliances by someone authorized under Ontario Regulations 210/01 (Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems), 211/01 (Propane Storage and Handling) and 215/01 (Fuel Industry Certificates) under the Technical Standards and Safety Act. 

Anyone engaged in this type of work should contact the Ontario College of Trades and Technical Standards & Safety Authority to confirm the limitations. An HVAC contractor doing electrical work outside of the scope of theses qualifications requires an electrical contractor licence. 

Can a homeowner file a notification of work?

Under Ontario law, homeowners are only allowed to do electrical work in their own home or rental building. However, they must meet the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, which includes filing all required notifications of work.

I’m from another province or country. Do my qualifications meet the requirements to obtain a licence?

If you have the Interprovincial certificate of qualification or are an out-of-country electrician, you must contact the Ontario College of Trades before working in Ontario. In general, work experience in Canada with the proper qualifications will be recognized towards a Master Electrician licence. However, work done in another country is not. There are some licensing exemptions depending on the type of work that is being done.  See Ontario Regulation 570/05 for specific requirements.

Do contractors from outside the province have to have an ECRA/ESA licence?

Yes, contractors from outside Ontario must meet the same requirements as those working in Ontario. They must obtain an ECRA/ESA Electrical Contractor licence. See the Requirements for an Electrical Contractor Licence

I’m a contractor from Quebec. I heard that our qualifications may be accepted for electricians to work in Ontario. Is this true?

Yes, if you hold a valid “Certificat de competence - compagnon” from Quebec, you are allowed to work as an electrician under a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Ontario. You are also eligible to become a Master Electrician with ECRA/ESA without registering with the Ontario College of Trades. However, Ontario does not recognize the Maitre Electricien designation.

I have my Master Electrician’s licence in another province. Is it transferable in Ontario?

No, the Master Electrician’s licence from any other country or province is not accepted in Ontario. To get your Master Electrician’s licence in Ontario, you must pass the Master Electrician exam administered by the Electrical Safety Authority. 

What is five-year licensing and how does it work?

ESA updated its licensing renewal process in 2016 based on feedback through its advisory councils and public consultation. The update reduced the administrative effort it takes to renew an Electrical Contractor or Master Electrician licence. Rather than submitting full licensing documentation every year, licensees are now only required to send these documents every five years. In the other years, licensees self-declare that licensing requirements are in place and up-to-date.

How do I check that my application is complete before I submit it?

Use the checklists on the second page of the application forms to make sure you have included all the required information. This will prevent having your application sent back as incomplete.

The disclaimer on your forms reads that ESA may “collect, use and disclose” personal information. Does ESA provide information to other organizations without my knowledge?

No, ESA does not provide personal information to third parties without your knowledge and permission.

ESA’s Access and Privacy Code defines what information will and will not be disclosed even if it is requested. For example, ESA will not disclose personal information that violates an individual’s right to privacy, unless that individual consents to the disclosure.

ESA regularly denies Requests for Information that are exempt from disclosure under the Code. We must disclose information that does not fall under these exemptions, if asked.

How long will it take to receive my ECRA/ESA licence?

We try to process all completed applications within four weeks of the date our Customer Service Centre receives them. 

Can I take out a notification of work immediately after I send you my application?

No. You will only be able to file a notification of work once you have received your Electrical Contractor licence.

Why does ESA need a government tax number?

We ask for the business registration number on the licence application to verify that the business is registered in Ontario. This is required by the provincial government.

What is WSIB?

WSIB stands for Workplace Safety & Insurance Board. Companies must register with WSIB and confirm they have insurance coverage for their employees should a work-related injury occur. Contact WSIB if you need to arrange coverage for your employees.

How do I obtain $2 million liability insurance?

Talk to your insurance company. The ESA does not arrange liability coverage for contractor licensing. 

Where should I display my ECRA/ESA licence?

You should prominently display your ECRA/ESA electrical contractor licence number in all correspondence, contracts and advertisements, on business vehicles and in all situations where you communicate with the public. This includes Yellow Pages ads and websites. You must do this within 90 days of the date on your licence.

Do I have to place my ECRA/ESA licence number on my vehicles? What is the standard size and location?

Yes, Ontario law requires that electrical contractors prominently display the licence number on your business vehicles within 90 days of the date on your licence. The number should be at least one inch (2.54 cm) high, and located on the back or both sides of the truck. Review more detailed guidelines and get copies of the ECRA/ESA logo.

Do I have to display my ECRA/ESA Master Electrician licence number?

No, you only need to display the Licensed Electrical Contractor licence number.

If I contract out any electrical work, can I put in my company’s advertisements that we do electrical work?

No, only Licensed Electrical Contractors can advertise that they do electrical work. If your company is a general contractor, your ads must say that you only use ECRA/ESA-Licensed Electrical Contractors to perform any electrical work.

Why do I have two licence numbers?

The Master Electrician licence is a requirement to be the designated Master Electrician for an electrical contracting company licensed by ECRA/ESA. This is a seven-digit number that begins with a 6 (e.g., 6999999).

The Electrical Contractor Licence allows a company to perform electrical contracting work in Ontario. This is a seven-digit number that begins with a 7 (e.g., 7999999).

How can I file a complaint against a licensed or unlicensed contractor?

Please see ESA’s non-compliance report page of our website.