Records and Information Requests
Requests can be made for information or access to records in the custody of the Electrical Safety Authority. Information and records are released in accordance with ESA’s Access and Privacy Code and federal and provincial privacy legislation.
Every person has a right of access to a record in the custody and under the control of ESA unless all or part of the information qualifies for an exemption.
Below is information on how to request information from ESA, exemptions to disclosure, examples of various requests and likely responses, and ESA’s authority in this area, as well as links to forms and documents.
Requests must be made through a Request for Information form or Record Search form. A Request for Information is a general request whereas a Record Search is specifically about whether there are any open or outstanding ESA notifications pertaining to a particular address.
The standard processing fee is $67. Additional fees may be charged for complex requests. The following requests are fulfilled at no charge:
- a property owner or tenant requests information specific to their dwelling;
- a licensed electrical contractor taking over a job from another licensed electrical contractor and requests the outstanding defects that need to be corrected;
- other authorities having jurisdiction -- i.e. Ministry of Labour, Fire Marshal’s Office, police, etc. --requesting information about a specific address, fire or contact incident, or company
Typically requests are fulfilled in 3-5 business days but exceptions may apply for complex requests.
Submit the request form to ESA via:
- email to firstname.lastname@example.org or
- fax to: 1-800-667-4278
There is some information that is not disclosed by ESA. The following is only summary and guidance information to exemptions. Please refer to the Access and Privacy Code for the complete and official list of exemptions.
- Personal information unless the individual has consented to the disclosure. Examples of personal information are an individual’s name, age, sex, address, telephone number, and employment history.
Information about a company, property or specific municipal address - such as related electrical permit information - is not personal information.
- Commercial, proprietary, technical or financial information if that information would cause harm such as undue loss or gain, prejudice a competitive position or interfere with contractual negotiation. “Commercial”, “proprietary”,” technical” or “financial” includes items such as trade secrets, scientific information, technical plans, and specific financial information.
The existence of an electrical permit for a property obtained by a company or individual or associated with an address does not qualify for this exemption.
Discretionary Exemptions (some examples):
- Information disclosure that would violate legal privilege;
- Information that would compromise an ongoing ESA investigation or enforcement activity.
For the complete list of exemptions, refer to the Access and Privacy Code.
If ESA determines that all information in a request meets the requirements for exemption, the request will be denied and the requestor notified.
If ESA determines that some of the information in a request meets the requirements for exemption that information will be redacted in the response.
(All examples are hypothetical and not intended to represent any real individuals or organizations)
Example #1: Bob Smith owns an industrial building. He submits a Request for Information to ESA for the history of all electrical permits for the site going back to before he owned it – what permits were taken out by which contractor, for what work, and whether the permits were closed. ESA response: request is fulfilled as no exemptions apply.
Example #2: Ace Engineering requests a copy of Acme Engineering’s electrical plans for a fast food restaurant that were submitted as part of ESA’s Plan Review program. ESA response: request denied as the electrical plans are proprietary information.
Example #3: Smith & Smith Insurance requests information about Master Electrician Serge Romanov; specifically the name of all contractors for whom Romanov has ever been listed as the Designated Master Electrician. ESA response: request denied as the information would constitute Romanov’s employment history, which is personal information.
Example #4: A. Jenkins lawyer requests all details and copies of correspondence pertaining to permits filed for a home at 12 Main Street to support a real estate transaction. ESA response: request is fulfilled as no exemptions apply.
Example #5: Quality Building Management requests a list of permits taken out by Grade A Electrical Contractor in the last 12 months. ESA response: request fulfilled as no exemptions apply.
Example #6: Mary LaPierre requests confirmation that a permit was taken out by Smart Sam Electrical Contracting for 12 Main Street. ESA response: request fulfilled as no exemptions apply.
Example #7: Louise and Martin Lewis request a copy of a Defect Notice issued to their landlord as a result of a Hazard Investigation done at their rented premises to support them at a landlord/tenant hearing. ESA response: request fulfilled as no exemptions apply.
As a Delegated Administrative Authority, ESA does not fall under the Ontario government’s Freedom of Information and Protection and Privacy Act (FIPPA) procedures. Therefore ESA has established an Access and Privacy Code and Request for Information and Record Search procedures that echo the province’s approach.
ESA’s Access and Privacy Code was approved by the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and is a requirement of ESA’s Administrative Agreement with government.