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Identifying an Unlicensed Electrical Contractor

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:

  • They ask you to take out the permit with the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • They don’t have an ECRA/ESA licence number on their work vehicle.
  • Their estimate doesn’t include an ECRA/ESA licence number or ESA fees for the permit.
  • They can’t show you their ECRA/ESA licence number when you ask for it.
  • When you call and ask for their ECRA/ESA licence number they immediately hang up.
  • You 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
  • They do more than just electrical work including drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, eavestrough cleaning, and 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 and they respond to your inquiry by phone.
  • They say you don’t need to involve ESA and you don’t need a permit.
  • 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 purchase 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 an LEC doing work but he can’t produce an electrical permit and you never see a vehicle with an ECRA/ESA licence on it.
  • They 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