Electrical Product Safety & Approved Certification Marks
When buying or searching for electrical products, look for a recognized Canadian certification mark—products without an official mark or label indicates a product that has not been independently assessed for safety.
See below for a reference chart of common certification marks.
- Why Recognized Marks are Important
- Common Certification Marks
- Safety Considerations: Purchasing Electrical Products
- Safety Considerations: Electrical Holiday Decorations
- Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor
- Report Unsafe Electrical Products
Before an electrical product is used, sold, displayed, or advertised for sale in Ontario, it must be assessed and approved by an accredited certification or field evaluation agency. Items that carry the recognized mark or label of an agency have gone through this process.
The use of unapproved equipment or products is against the law in Ontario and can put you, your property, and others at risk.
Looking for one of the Canadian recognized certification marks above is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you’re buying and using approved electrical products. This applies to any electrical product, such as plug-in power adapters, electric vehicle chargers, or large household appliances like refrigerators or washers and dryers.
Please see the link below for the complete list of recognized marks. Apart from that, consider the following:
- Only purchase electrical products from reputable sources and retail outlets.
- When searching or purchasing electrical products online, verify the product descriptions to see if they mention if the product includes a recognized certification mark. If it doesn’t say, try and reach out to the seller to confirm.
- Look at the fine details of the product information. Typos may be a sign of a potentially counterfeit product.
- Watch out for damaged products and packaging with typos—they are often counterfeit.
- Tip: Online retailers may have filters where you can check if a product has a recognized certification mark.
Special purpose lights and electrical decorations are a staple of many celebrations, especially during holiday seasons. As always, look for recognized certification marks to mitigate potential electrical hazards.
Also consider the following:
- Light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use—be sure to choose the right light for the job.
- Read and follow the package instructions for proper electrical use and installation..
- Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
- Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) when plugging in outdoors.
- Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.
Extension cords and outlets
- Don’t overload extension cords or circuits by plugging in too many decorations. This can create overheating and may result in a fire.
- Tripped breakers or blown fuses might indicate that you have connected too many items to the circuit.
- Never remove the third prong on the plugs. This is a grounding pin that prevents shock in case of electrical equipment failure.
- Don't run extension cords under carpets, through windows or doorways, or in places where furniture might damage them.
- If indicated by the manufacturer’s instructions, keep outdoor cords above ground and out of puddles.
- Don't run cords across driveways or walkways.
- Don't let children put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
- Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
Decorations in general
- Connect light strings together as per the manufacturer's instructions.
- Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
- Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
- Check for overhead power lines and always stay a minimum of 3 metres away before using a ladder to put up outdoor decorations, or when hanging lights or decorations on trees.
- Take down holiday decorations when the holidays are over. They aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. (Plus, your neighbours will thank you!)
If you are looking to hire someone to install an electrical product that you purchased, make sure they are a Licensed Electrical Contractor — they have the right expertise, equipment, and training.
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.
If your electrical item is unsafe, or does not have a certification mark, do not use it, and return to the seller. You should also report the safety issue or sale of an uncertified product.