What is a permit and how do I get one?
Most electrical work requires a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority. An electrical “permit” (called a Notification of Work, or notification) needs to be filed before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts.
Notifications must be taken out by the party who is doing the work. If you’re doing the electrical work, you need to file the notification. If you hire, it’s the law in Ontario that they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor and they must take out the notification (see more in What You Need to Know – Take out a Notification). Do not take out a notification on behalf of a contractor or anyone else.
Electrical notifications are not the same as a building permit. If you have a building permit, it doesn’t mean you have an electrical notification. The fee for an electrical notification varies according to the type of work being done. To confirm notification requirements and to file your notification, call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
There are two ways to apply for a notification:
1Go to the Inspection Forms page and download the applicable form. Send the completed form along with payment to the Customer Service Centre by email esa.Cambridge@electricalsafety.on.ca, fax 800-667-4278 or post/courier to: 400 Sheldon Dr, Unit 1, Cambridge, ON N1T 2H9.
2Contact our Customer Service Centre at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) to speak with a Customer Service Representative.
Residential Notifications are valid for 12 months. The Notification expires if no inspections have been performed during the first year. The inspection fees will be credited back less a refund processing fee. When resubmitted, full inspection fees will apply to the new Notification.
When is an inspection required?
The Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA’s) inspection/review process varies depending on the project. Before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts, make sure the required notification is filed (most electrical work requires a notification from ESA). An electrical “permit” (called a Notification of Work, or notification) creates a permanent record of the work that has been done in your home and it triggers the review process by ESA. An ESA Inspector will review the notification and the electrical work being done to confirm the inspection requirements.
When do I book my inspection and how many inspections will I need?
Your first priority will be getting a “permit” (also called a Notification of Work), which should be done before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts. ESA’s inspection/review process varies depending on the project. If electrical work is complicated, for example, ESA’s Inspectors may need to review at multiple stages. Learn more about the different types of inspections.
To book your inspection date, call the Customer Service Centre directly at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
If I see someone doing electrical work and I’m not sure they have a licence, how can I find out if they are licensed?
There are several ways to verify if a contractor is licensed:
1Check ESA’s contractor look-up tool
2Call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) and choose option 3 for Contractor Licensing
3Check the correspondence from the contractor, such as a quote/estimate or business card. If they are licensed, you should be able to find their licence number on any and all of their correspondence and even their vehicle. For example, the number would look like this: ECRA/ESA 7999999.
4Visit Identifying an Unlicensed Electrical Contractor to learn more.
Do I need an electrician to fix my power outlet(s)/plug(s)?
Yes, even if you watch a tutorial on any social media channels and the repair work looks easy enough, you should still consider hiring an electrician to fix the plug and here's why:
If the wires are still ‘live’ or have power running through them, you can seriously injure yourself if you handle them improperly. Electricians are skilled professionals and trained to work in safe conditions, which means they know how to cut power to the plug to fix it. Moreover, they have protective equipment that protects them from electrical shocks.
In some cases, wiring in one room of the house may also bring power to another room. In circuits like these, an untrained person may commit a fatal error while trying to connect these wires to a switch or a power outlet in order to restore power to both the outlet and the room or another electrical device.
Hiring a licensed electrician essentially gives you peace of mind that the electrical issue was correctly resolved and eliminates the harm that can befall you if you are untrained and try to fix the electrical issue yourself.
What is the best way to pick the right contractor?
Many electrical contractors offer free estimates, so a good place to begin this exercise is to compare the price estimates provided to check whether they fall within your budget. Checking reviews that contractors might be able to offer is highly recommended because these reviews serve as endorsements of their service quality.
Many companies usually ask clients to fill out a small survey and to provide a review of their services. Finding a company with many good reviews usually indicates that clients were generally satisfied with their performance.
Last but not least, remember to go with your gut. It’s always a good idea to do some research on the electrical issue that you are facing. Even after collecting a few quotes and looking at reviews, select the licensed contractor you feel most comfortable with performing the work and go from there.