ESA’s goal is to improve electrical safety for the well-being of the people of Ontario – this includes the enforcement of electrical safety. Too often, we see dangerous electrical work done in the underground economy that endangers the safety of Ontarians. ESA is committed to targeting the underground economy; in fact, it is part of our 5-year Corporate Strategy.

The underground economy includes unlicensed contractors, as well as licensed contractors and homeowners who deliberately refuse to comply with the Electricity Act and its Regulations. Examples include operating an electrical contracting business without a licence; willfully and persistently failing to file a notification of work with ESA; and other Ontario Electrical Safety Code violations.

ESA’s approach to targeting the underground economy is both agile and evolving. We use data analysis; partnerships and collaborations with other entities and organizations; as well as education and awareness campaigns targeting both the supply and demand for the underground economy.

Our Process

ESA uses a progressive approach to compliance that depends on the risk and gravity of the non-compliance. ESA can take variety of steps from informing and education to prosecution. When enforcement is necessary, ESA aims to take actions that are effective, predictable and consistent.

Enforcement against Unlicensed Contractors

When it comes to ESA’s attention that a person or a business operates as an electrical contractor without a licence, ESA will: 

  1. Investigate.
  2. Review evidence, perform charge screening and determine the appropriate enforcement action, such as
    • Issue a notice of non-compliance; or
    • Proceed to lay charges and commence a prosecution in the Provincial Offences Court.

Enforcement against Licensed Electrical Contractors

Our goal is to work collaboratively with licence holders to motivate compliance; however, there are times where enforcement action is required (for example, a breach of the Act or Regulation). ESA will consider a broad range of factors before taking enforcement action. Where necessary, ESA will:

  1. Investigate.
  2. Review evidence, perform a charge screening and determine appropriate action, such as
    • Compliance and oversight action that would satisfy the electrical safety mandate;
    • Request a Corrective Action Plan; or 
    • Proceed to lay charges and commence a prosecution in the Provincial Offences Court.


NOTE: Any fines resulting from a conviction are set and collected by the Ontario Courts.