ESA is about enforcing electrical safety in the province of Ontario. Too often, we see dangerous electrical work done by unlicensed contractors, which can put your family in danger and your home at risk. That is why we take underground economy very seriously.

In the context of the electrical safety system, underground economy behaviours include unlicensed contractors as well as licensed contractors and homeowners who deliberately refuse to comply with the Electricity Act and its Regulations (for example, operating an electrical contracting business without a licence, willfully and persistently failing to file a notification of work with ESA, or other violation of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code).

ESA believes these behaviours endanger the electrical safety of Ontarians. As part of its 5-year Corporate and Licensing Department Plan (Licensing Strategy), ESA is committed to targeting the underground economy. 

Report Unlicensed Activity

If you are aware of a business or individual who is working in the underground economy, please let us know. You can file an anonymous report here.

ESA uses a progressive compliance approach. Depending on the risk and gravity of the non-compliance, ESA can take variety of steps from informing and education to prosecution, where appropriate. 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.

For a list of convictions against unlicensed contractors, please visit the link below:

Enforcement against Licensed Electrical Contractors

Our goal is to work collaboratively with licence holders to motivate compliance. Despite these efforts, there are instances where enforcement action is required. ESA considers a broad range of factors before taking an enforcement action.

However, if the breach of the Act or Regulation is identified and the case warrants enforcement action, ESA will:

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

For a list of Licensed Electrical Contractors that have been convicted, view the link below:

ESA’s approach to targeting the underground economy is both agile and evolving. We use data analysis, collaborate and create partnerships with other entities and organizations and increase our education and outreach to target both supply and demand of the underground economy.

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