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ESA Discipline Process and Options for Licensees

Introduction

As part of its mandate, ESA is responsible for administering the provincial licensing requirements which include ensuring that Licensed Electrical Contractors (LEC) and Master Electricians (ME) are in compliance with their obligations as licence holders.  This includes an LEC’s duty to ensure that all electrical work is carried out in accordance with all applicable laws.

All licence holders have received the ECRA/ESA Licence Holder Standards of Conduct and the Guideline to the Duties and Responsibilities of Licensed Electrical Contractors (LECs) and Designated Master Electricians (DMEs).  These resources explain in layman’s terms, the obligations of licence holders when performing electrical work.

If these requirements aren’t followed, ESA’s Director of Contractor Licensing has the option to discipline licensees.This webpage explains:

  • How the discipline process works
  • The types of disciplinary actions that can be considered by the Director when making licensing discipline decisions; and
  • Factors considered by the Director when taking disciplinary action

 

How the Discipline Process Works

When an allegation of misconduct is reported:

  • The allegation of misconduct must be verified by the Director
  • If verified, the disciplinary action considered is proportionate to the gravity of misconduct
  • Disciplinary action is determined by the specific facts of each case
  • Consideration is given to choosing the most appropriate discipline action, including those that allow the licensee to comply with regulation

 

Types of Disciplinary Actions

The Electricity Act, 1998, R.S.O. c.15 sets the following types of disciplinary actions in legislation that can be considered by the Director when making licensing discipline decisions:               

  • The imposition of restrictions, limitations or conditions on the licence
  • Refuse to grant or renew the licence
  • Suspension of the licence
  • Revocation of the licence

 

If the Director considers misconduct not to be serious enough to suspend a licence, the licence holder could still be subject to other corrective actions that the Director deems appropriate. Corrective action generally requires a licence holder to correct non-compliance with the Regulation. Corrective action(s) could potentially include, but are not limited to:

  • Education – The Director could provide information regarding licence holder responsibilities and requirements in the form of advice or written material.
  • Monitoring – The Director could periodically or regularly review the licence holder’s business administration relating to electrical contracting work, such as permit history, to ensure compliance with the Regulation.
  • Acknowledgement and Undertaking – The Director could accept an “Acknowledgement and Undertaking” by the licence holder. This means a written agreement on how a licence holder is to correct non-compliance or how they will ensure Regulation requirements are followed.
  • Attend a Meeting – The Director may invite the licence holder to attend a meeting with representatives from ESA’s Licensing Department to discuss a complaint. At the meeting the licence holder may receive an informal educational reminder, advice, or warning.
  • Training – The Director may require that the licence holder take training courses (for example, training on work safe procedures or the Electrical Code).
  • Warning letters – The Director may issue a written warning explaining the requirements needed to comply with the Regulation. The Director could indicate that if the conduct that led to the complaint continues, legislative disciplinary action may be taken.
  • Other – The Director may consider other appropriate disciplinary actions.

 

Factors considered by the Statutory Director of Licensing when making discipline decisions

When making a discipline decision, the Director considers the types of disciplinary actions available with the following factors related to the misconduct:

  • The nature of the misconduct;
  • The seriousness of the misconduct;
  • Extent of real or potential harm to the public, the worker, and/or the industry;
  • Whether the licence holder engaged in numerous acts and/or pattern of misconduct or misconduct that occurred over an extended period of time;
  • The level of accountability of the licence holder in the misconduct;
  • The licence holder’s relevant history including warnings and disciplinary actions;
  • Whether planning or premeditation was involved;
  • Whether the licence holder cooperated in or obstructed the investigation of the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether the licence holder acknowledged the misconduct, has accepted responsibility, or notified ESA of the misconduct prior to investigation;
  • Whether the licence holder has made voluntary acts of restitution or has enacted corrective measures to avoid recurrence of misconduct;
  • Whether the licence holder had developed reasonable supervisory, operational and/or technical procedures or controls that were properly implemented; and
  • Other relevant factors related to the particular case, if any.

 

 

discipline process info graphicClick to open the image as a PDF

Starting at the base of the pyramid, the first step in compliance is for the Director to take non-legislative measures such as information, education and advice so that licence holders are aware of their legal requirements and how they can maintain a state of compliance. In the middle of the pyramid and progressing upward, activities include disciplinary actions aimed at directing compliance to assist those who do not always comply with their licensure requirements or deter those who do not want to comply.  At the top, there still remain circumstances where regulated persons demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to comply with or correct a non-compliance issue, or where there is an imminent threat to public safety, which requires the consideration of using more severe discipline measures.

It is important to note that the pyramid above describes a range of discipline actions that may be imposed by the Licensing Director for verified findings of non-compliance.  The type and severity of the discipline action depends on a number of factors, including for example, the circumstances around the contravention and the compliance history of the licence holder.  

The principles and assessment criteria established by the Licensing Discipline Decision-Making Guideline for Statutory Directors are considered in the decision making process to ensure that the discipline action is proportionate to the degree of non-compliance and the safety risk, as well as to ensure that the most appropriate discipline action or combination of are considered in order to achieve the desired compliance outcome.