When it comes to electrical work in your home, you should always leave it to the professionals. In fact, in Ontario it is legally required that homeowners only hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) to perform electrical work in their homes. This is because electrical work is both complicated and dangerous. Even if you “know a guy” who says they can do the work, don’t put your home at risk. Here’s why you should always hire a trained and licensed electrician to do any electrical work in your home.
Proper Training and Licensing
Being able to safely perform electrical work requires years of schooling, proper training and obtaining the right licensing. This ensures all the work is done to code and protects your home. As a resident and homeowner in Ontario, it is your responsibility to only hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) who is permitted by law to do electrical work.
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) issues such licenses to electricians who have successfully completed this training. For a smaller job, you may hire an apprentice so long as they are employed by a licensed electrical contractor. Before you hire, confirm your electrician has the proper licensing.
Steps to Become an Electrician
The first step in becoming a licensed electrician is completing an electrical apprenticeship. This is typically a four or five-year-long program where an apprentice will learn technical skills and job training. After completing the apprenticeship, the next step is to pass a final exam so that they can become a journeyperson. Once this status is achieved, the last step is to obtain their license from the ESA. After this, they can choose to write an Interprovincial Exam to allow them to work across Canada.
Types of Electricians
One thing to keep in mind is that electricians charge based on their level of experience. Depending on their experience, there are three types of electricians:
An apprentice is still in school and is learning how to be an electrician. They may work alongside a more experienced electrician to help them gain practical skills. As they do not have the proper certifications yet, they are often supervised by a journeyperson or master electrician. They can still be hired to carry out small electrical jobs as long as they are under the supervision of a more experienced and licensed electrician.
A journeyperson has completed their apprenticeship, obtained their certifications and knows how to handle more complex electrical projects. A journeyperson can either work on their own or be employed by a more senior electrical contractor.
A master electrician has completed all of the required education and training. They have all the necessary certifications and can handle complex electrical projects. If you need to have your entire home rewired, your best option is to hire a master electrician. They will be more expensive to hire, but you can trust they are the expert in their field and will do an impeccable job.
Tips for Safely Hiring an Electrician
Before you hire an electrician you must ask for proof of proper licensing. While a handyman is able to install a dimmer switch, they are not legally allowed to do so. Remember, in Ontario, it is your legal responsibility as a homeowner to only hire an ESA certified electrician. When speaking with a potential electrician, ask to see proof of their ESA license number. This number should also be displayed on their company website and invoices. You can visit the ESA website to confirm.
You can also look for a Verified Badge on a company’s HomeStars profile. This badge means they have passed our rigorous screening process which includes confirmation of proper licensing. While on their profile, be sure to look at their Star Score and read reviews from previous customers. Both of these tools will give you more insight into the company and if they’re the right for you.
As a homeowner in Ontario, it is your legal responsibility to only hire a licensed electrician. Do not put yourself or your home at risk by attempting to do your own electrical work or hire someone who isn’t licensed. Instead, look out for a Verified Badge and be sure to ask about proper licensing before you hire.