Identifying an Unlicensed Electrical Contractor

No matter how small the job, when you hire someone to do electrical work in your home, by law in Ontario, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor. A Licensed Electrical Contractor is a business that hires qualified electricians and are required to have a master electrician. An electrician is not permitted to perform electrical work unless they are employed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.

Working with a Licensed Electrical Contractor helps protect you and your family from electrical hazards or costly mistakes, such as major property damage or even loss of life. It’s not worth the risk to hire an unlicensed person. Consider the real costs if something goes wrong.

ESA takes the underground economy very seriously. We have dedicated resources to tackle this issue to protect the public.

Here are some tips on how to spot an unlicensed electrical contractor:

  • They ask you to take out the notification with the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • There’s no ECRA/ESA licence number on their work vehicle
  • Their estimate doesn’t include an ECRA/ESA licence number or ESA fees for the notification.
  • They can’t show you their ECRA/ESA licence number when you ask for it.
  • When you call and ask for their licence number, they hang up.
  • You can’t find the company’s name in ESA's Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor Near You tool.
  • They do more than electrical work. They offer drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, eavestrough cleaning or other home maintenance and improvement work.
  • You found their name on the internet, and the only way to contact them was to email a general mailbox. They respond to your inquiry by phone.
  • They say you don’t need to involve ESA and you don’t need a notification.
  • They offer a discount if you pay cash, accept only cash and/or won’t provide a receipt.
  • They show up in a labelled work van but operate under a different name.
  • They ask you to buy all the supplies.
  • They say you don’t need to involve your local electric utility to change your electrical panel or upgrade your electrical service.
  • Your General Contractor insists he has a Licensed Electrical Contractor doing the work. But he can’t produce an electrical notification to the ESA and you never see a vehicle with an ECRA/ESA licence number on it.
  • They say, “If anyone asks, tell them you did the work yourself.”

Think you may be dealing with an unlicensed electrical contractor? You can report it to ESA anonymously and we’ll investigate. Help us keep Ontario safe.

If you want to learn more about what ESA has been doing to protect consumers such as yourself to target the underground economy, click here.