Unlicensed Electrical Contractors and Unsafe Electrical Products Put Ontarians at Risk
Electrical Safety Authority reminds Ontarians to take steps to stay safer
MISSISSAUGA, ON (March 2, 2020) – As part of Fraud Prevention Month and World Consumer Rights Day, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is sharing safety tips with Ontarians to protect themselves and their families from unlicensed and illegally operating Electrical Contractors and uncertified electrical products.
“As Ontario’s electrical safety regulator, ESA is focused on the safety and protection of Ontario consumers,” says Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “By using unlicensed electrical contractors, Ontarians put their property and their family at risk. ESA aims to educate Ontarians about how to protect themselves from electrical contractors who are engaged in fraudulent activities.”
Unlicensed Electrical Contractors
Unlicensed contractors who falsely claim they are qualified and authorized to perform this technical and complex work put homeowners and their families at risk of electrical shock, fire and even death.
Licensed Electrical Contractors are the only businesses in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work. Contractors who perform electrical work without an ECRA/ESA licence may face serious consequences – from fines to imprisonment. Convictions of unlicensed electrical contractors in 2019 on charges brought by ESA were up 20% over the previous year.
To prevent unlicensed electrical contractors from continuing to put Ontarians at risk, ESA has launched an anonymous reporting tool, allowing anyone to report an unlicensed activity. Since the launch in July 2019, 367 reports have been made.
Tips to Avoid Fraud
Here are a few ways Ontarians can avoid falling victim to unlicensed contractors:
- Ask for an electrician’s ECRA/ESA licence number, it should be on their truck and estimate.
- An unlicensed contractor may falsely claim they have a licence number. Always verify an ECRA/ESA licence number or look them up by company name at findacontractor.esasafe.com.
- Do not trust a contractor if they ask you to take out the notification of work (permit) in your name with the Electrical Safety Authority. Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor for any electrical work in Ontario.
- Avoid working with contractors that offer a discount if you pay cash, accept only cash and/or won’t provide a receipt.
Unsafe and/or Uncertified Electrical Products
Before an electrical product or piece of electrical equipment is sold in Ontario, it must be approved by an accredited certification or evaluation agency. Unapproved or uncertified electrical products can pose a serious risk to Ontarians.
“With an increase in online shopping, there’s an increased risk for unapproved or unsafe products being sold in Ontario,” says Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “Whether you are buying a product online or in-store, always be sure to check for a recognized certification mark. This is how you know the product is safe to use in Ontario.”
A list of recognized certification mark is available here. If you have an electrical product that you believe poses a risk, you can report it here: esaproductsafety.com.
About the Electrical Safety Authority
The Electrical Safety Authority's (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.
More information on the Electrical Safety Authority can be found at www.esasafe.com, through https://twitter.com/homeandsafety and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ElectricalSafetyAuthority.
For further information:
Electrical Safety Authority
905-712-7819 or Media.ESA@electricalsafety.on.ca