In Ontario, if you hire a person to do electrical work in your home, no matter how minor, it must be done by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC). For your protection and peace of mind, make sure to ask your Licensed Electrical Contractor to obtain a Certificate of Acceptance (previously called a Certificate of Inspection) from the Electrical Safety Authority. This Certificate is an important document for the safety of your home, resale and insurance purposes. Only Licensed Electrical Contracting businesses can obtain this Certificate of Acceptance – general contractors or tradespersons without an ECRA/ESA license number will not be able to obtain one.
To ensure you are working with a Licensed Electrical Contracting business, here are a few red flags to watch for, according to the Electrical Safety Authority.
UNABLE TO PROVIDE ECRA/ ESA LICENSE NUMBER A Licensed Electrical Contractor will gladly provide this if asked. A seven-digit ECRA/ESA license number should be displayed on their work vehicle and included on their printed estimate. The Electrical Safety Authority has a ‘Find a Licensed Contractor Near You’ look-up tool on their website. If you cannot find the company’s name on that list, they are likely unlicensed.
MISSING NOTIFICATIONS A Licensed Electrical Contractor will take care of the Notification for Work by connecting with the Electrical Safety Authority. They will reach out to your local electrical utility when changing your electrical panel or making upgrades to your electrical service. If your contractor suggests you file the Notification yourself or says any of these steps are unnecessary, beware!
THEY “DO IT ALL” Licensed Electrical Contractors will generally handle only electrical work. Exceptions would be contractors or home builders who provide full project management and outsource these tasks to licensed professionals on your behalf. In this case, it is important to ask them to provide an ECRA/ESA License Number for the company they will be subcontracting the work to.
UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT There are a number of red flags that you should watch for when hiring any professional, including a Licensed Electrical Contractor. One of these red flags would be contractors who offer a discount if you pay in cash, will accept only cash and/ or won’t provide a receipt for payments made. Other red flags may include work vehicles that carry different business names than the one they operate under, refusal to provide written quotes/ estimates or contractors that require you to provide your own supplies. – Electrical Safety Authority, www.esasafe.com
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