Notifications and Inspections
How do I prepare for an inspection?
ESA can provide you with a broad overview of what you can expect to be inspected during the different stages of electrical work.
These documents do not constitute the entirety of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and its application. They do not constitute advice on how to do electrical work and should not be used as a substitute for the services of a qualified licenced electrical contractor. Information may not be applicable to your specific situation.
ESA inspections are limited to the electrical installation, product or device described in the notification. Depending on the nature of the installation, an Inspector may look at all or only some of the above elements. An Inspection does not in any way relieve the applicant from their responsibility to comply with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code in all aspects of their work and the installation.
Note: Under the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the Electrical Safety Authority determines which installations to inspect. ESA may accept installations and issue connection authorizations without conducting inspection.
How do I book an inspection?
To request an inspection, call the Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233). Or, complete the Request for Inspection form and send it to the ESA Customer Service Centre. You can email ESA.Cambridge@electricalsafety.on.ca, fax at 800-667-4278 or mail to 400 Sheldon Dr, Unit 1, Cambridge, ON N1T 2H9.
I’m a homeowner. What type of inspection do I need?
Homes may need one of two types of inspections:
- New Residential: This involves installing a wiring system in a structure that did not have one before.
- Renovation Residential: This covers any change to original wiring, including repair and replacement of devices. You may not need a notification if you are the property owner, living in your owner-occupied single family dwelling, can legally complete electrical work there, and are replacing certain light fixtures and switches. Call the Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) to see if this applies to your project.
Note that homes can be detached, semi-detached, row housing, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, farm houses, modular or prefabricated, with or without a basement.
New or renovated home electrical inspections can include:
- Trench – An inspection of underground wiring.
- Service/connection – An inspection of wiring to meter, main disconnect means (e.g. fuses or breakers) and grounding to service. See more in What is a service inspection?
- Rough-in – This takes place when all branch circuit wiring and outlet boxes are installed and before wiring is hidden by insulation, vapour barrier, drywall, etc. See more in What is a rough-in inspection?
- Final – Ask for the final inspection as soon as possible after completion of the electrical installation. See more in What is a final inspection?
What is a service/connection inspection and when does it take place?
A service inspection takes place after all customer-owned service equipment and related wiring is installed and ready.
Depending on the installation, this inspection may include the meter base, panel board, ground electrode, trenching, underground conductors, pole(s), overhead conductors, and so on. At least one outlet and associated wiring must also be completed before the inspection. No part of the installation can be concealed before inspection (e.g. backfilling of trench or overtop of ground electrodes). For new installations, the service inspection and rough-in inspection are completed at the same time, or additional inspection fees may apply.
Before installing any electrical service equipment, each project requires a service layout that sets out what the utility will supply and install and what is required from the homeowner. Contact the utility for this service layout.
After a successful service inspection, ESA authorizes the utility to energize the customer service. This connection authorization is valid for up to six months from the date of issue.
What is a rough-in inspection and when does it take place?
A rough-in inspection takes place when all branch circuit wiring and outlet boxes are installed, before the wiring is hidden by insulation, vapour barrier, drywall, etc. As a minimum, the rough-in inspection confirms:
- All cables are installed, strapped and supported as required;
- All required outlet boxes are installed and securely fastened;
- All cables have their outer jacket removed and are terminated in outlet boxes where an outlet box is required;
- All bonding connections are completed at all outlet boxes, including providing a bonding conductor for final connection where required to a wiring device, luminaire, or equipment;
- Any joints or splices in the wiring at outlet boxes are completed;
- Protection plates against nails/screws are installed where required; and
- No wiring is concealed by insulation or floor, wall, and ceiling materials until authorized by an inspector.
For new installations, the service inspection and the rough-in inspection are usually completed at the same time. Otherwise, additional inspection fees may apply.
What is a final inspection and when does it take place?
Request the final inspection as soon as possible after completion of the electrical installation. This means all receptacles, switches, cover plates, light fixtures and permanently connected appliances are in place and the panel directory is complete. Any unused openings in panel boards or junction and outlet boxes are filled with suitable fillers.
Where an appliance that will be permanently connected isn’t yet on site, terminate the cable in a junction box complete with a blank cover, and insulate the ends of the conductors with wire connectors or tape. Where permanent light fixtures aren’t yet on site, install temporary light fixtures or a blank cover on lighting outlet boxes.
Electrical inspections take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays).
Once the electrical installation has been reviewed and passed, whoever filed the notification of work will receive an ESA Certificate of Acceptance. This confirms the electrical work complies with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. If your contractor filed the notification of work, ask for a copy of the certificate for your records. You can also call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) for a copy.
How do I apply for an inspection?
The person who filed the notification of work should contact ESA to request a date for inspection:
- Download the form from the Inspection Forms page. Send the completed form with payment to the Customer Service Centre by email at ESA.Cambridge@electricalsafety.on.ca, fax at 800-667-4278 or mail/courier to 400 Sheldon Dr, Unit 1, Cambridge, ON N1T 2H9.
- Call the Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE.
If you have questions about the type of application form you need, call the Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
Do I need to file a notification (“permit”) for electrical work?
Most electrical work requires a notification to the Electrical Safety Authority. We call this a notification of work. You must file this before or within 48 hours of starting electrical work.
How do I notify ESA about electrical work?
The person doing the electrical work files the notification. So if you’re doing the work, you file it. If you hire someone, that person files. Note that by Ontario law, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Do not hire an unlicensed contractor or take out a notification on behalf of anyone else. Learn more in What You Need to Know – Take out a Notification.
There are two ways to file a Notification:
- Download a form from ESA’s Forms Page. Send the completed form and payment by email to ESA.Cambridge@electricalsafety.on.ca or by fax to 800-667-4278. Send it by mail or courier to ESA Customer Service Centre, 400 Sheldon Dr, Unit 1, Cambridge, ON N1T 2H9.
- Contact our Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
Is an electrical notification the same as a building permit?
No, electrical notifications are not the same as a building permit. You may need both.
How much does an electrical notification cost?
The fee varies according to the work being done. You can confirm notification fees by calling 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) or visiting our Fees Page.
Note that residential notifications are valid for 12 months. The notification expires if no inspections take place during that time, but we’ll return the inspection fees less a refund processing fee. When you resubmit a new notification of work, full inspection fees apply.
How many inspections will I need?
ESA’s review process varies depending on the project. For complicated electrical work, for example, ESA’s Inspectors may need to review the work at several stages. Learn more about the different types of inspections.