Trade Shows and Unapproved Electrical Products

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), regulates and promotes electrical safety in Ontario, Canada.  

The Ontario Electrical Safety Code (Ontario Regulation 10/02) is the provincial regulation that defines the minimum requirements for electrical installations and electrical products in Ontario. ESA is responsible for enforcement of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (the Code) and Ontario Regulation 438/07 – Product Safety. As per The Code, Rule 2-022:

  1. No person shall use, advertise, display, sell, offer for sale or for other disposal any electrical equipment unless it has been approved in accordance with Rule 2-024, except as specified in Subrule 2).
  2. Electrical equipment does not require approval
    a) if permission is granted by the Electrical Safety Authority for it to be displayed or activated for demonstration at a trade show.

Prior to the exhibit, sale or use of electrical equipment or products at Trade Shows in Ontario

In advance of a Trade Show, the exhibitor/vendor shall contact ESA and apply for either:

  1. Permission to Show Notification, or
  2. Permission to Energize Notification

The completion of either Notification DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY GRANT PERMISSION, AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS SUCH. Only ESA can grant final approval of either Notification and does so in writing.

Choosing the Right Notification 

Unapproved electrical equipment will only be permitted to be displayed or energized at trade shows when ESA grants permission through the Permission to Show or Permission to Energize Notification. 

Important: Whether you choose the Permission to Show Notification or Permission to Energize Notification option, UNAPPROVED ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT CANNOT BE SOLD. Exhibitors/vendors found selling any Unapproved products/equipment will be requested to remove them all from the booth/floor/venue. NO EXCEPTIONS.

  1. Permission to Show: Trade Shows Only
    Exhibitors/vendors with unapproved electrical equipment that wish to display but not to connect or provide electricity to the equipment, must complete the "Permission to Show" Notification and pay the fee indicated for unapproved electrical equipment that will be displayed but not energized. Exhibitors/vendors will be provided with a sales receipt that must be made available to inspectors at the show site at all times.
    Important: The “Permission to Show” Notification does not grant permission for the connection/energization of unapproved electrical equipment.
  2. Permission to Energize: Trade Shows Only (No Consumer Shows)
    Exhibitors/vendors that wish to connect and energize (provide electricity to) unapproved electrical equipment, must complete the Permission to Energize Notification and pay the Permission to Energize fee indicated for each piece of unapproved electrical equipment. As well, the following conditions apply/are considered: 
    1. If no imminent hazards are present, ESA will grant permission for the equipment to be energized “For demonstration purposes only.”
    2. A sign/notice shall be affixed and prominently displayed on the equipment — “This equipment is not approved for sale in Ontario and is energized for demonstration purposes only.” ESA Inspectors will provide exhibitors/vendors with this sign/notice. The vendor will be responsible for providing this sign.
    3. Permission to Energize is only valid for the duration of the show, and cannot be carried forward or extended for subsequent shows in other cities.
    4. Permission to Energize allows the equipment connection to an available junction box or suitable disconnect means as provided by the on-site electrical contractor.

Download PDF Download Permission to Show/Energize form (PDF)  divider  Download Word Download Permission to Show/Energize form (Word)


Failure to Comply

Failure to comply with the Ontario Electrical safety Code and Product Safety Regulation could result in fines and/or charges under the Electricity Act.

Approved electrical equipment bears the Certification mark or Field Evaluation label of an organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, and accepted and recognized by ESA. If these marks are missing, the equipment is considered unapproved. 

Note: Electrical equipment shall be approved as a complete and assembled unit. The exhibitor/vendor is expected to make every reasonable effort to have electrical equipment approved prior to the show.

What You Need to Do During the Show

Exhibitors/vendors with unapproved electrical equipment must have their completed permissions prominently displayed or ready to present to the ESA inspector upon request.

Exhibitors/vendors with unapproved electrical equipment who have not taken out a permission to show or energize will be required to do so immediately by the ESA inspector to continue displaying or energizing their equipment.

What to Expect After The Show

ESA Product Safety Department is responsible for enforcing the Electricity Act, 1998, Ontario Regulation 438/07 (the Regulation) “Product Safety” pertaining to unapproved products/equipment.  

Once Product Safety receives notification of your unapproved product/equipment, they may follow-up in writing regarding the status of your unapproved product/equipment and advise you of your mandatory obligation to comply with the Regulation.