How to Spot Unlicensed Electrical Contractors

How to Spot Unlicensed Electrical Contractors

Licensed Electrical Contractors (LEC) are the only businesses in Ontario legally authorized to do electrical work in your home. Working with an LEC helps protect you and your family from electrical hazards or costly mistakes. It’s not worth the risk to hire an unlicensed individual.

Here’s how you can spot UNLICENSED electrical contractors:

  1. 1They ask you to take out the permit with the Electrical Safety Authority.
  2. 2They don’t have an ESA/ECRA licence number on their work vehicle.
  3. 3Their estimate doesn’t include an ESA/ECRA licence number or ESA fees for the permit.
  4. 4They can’t show you their ESA/ECRA licence when you ask for it.
  5. 5You can’t find the company’s name in the Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor Near You tool on the ESA website.            sample classified ad for unlicensed electrical contractor
  6. 6They do more than just electrical work including drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, eavestrough cleaning, and other home maintenance and improvement work.
  7. 7You found their name on the Internet and the only way to contact them was to email a general mailbox and they respond to your inquiry by phone.
  8. 8They say you don’t need to involve ESA and you don’t need a permit.
  9. 9They offer a discount if you pay cash, accept only cash and/or won’t provide a receipt.
  10. 10They show up in a labelled work van but operate under a different name.
  11. 11They ask you to purchase all the supplies.
  12. 12They work only on nights and/or weekends.
  13. 13They say you don’t need to involve your local electric utility to change your electrical panel or upgrade your electrical service.
  14. 14Your General Contractor insists he has an LEC doing work but he can’t produce an electrical permit and you never see a vehicle with an ESA/ECRA licence on it.
  15. 15They tell you “If anyone asks, tell them that you did the work yourself.”

Think you may be dealing with an unlicensed electrical contractor? Report it to ESA and we’ll investigate.

Sample classified ad of a licensed electrical contractor