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Ontario Contractor License Requirements

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To work in many areas of the building and renovation contractors in Ontario there are Ontario trade license requirements specific to the province. Each province in Canada has its own licensing requirements for specific areas of building and other trade services. A specific construction license is not needed for employment in Ontario. But this may be not the case in the big cities. For example, in order to enter into a written contract with a building contractor in Toronto that contractor has to have a valid City of Toronto license. In addition roofers, carpenters, bricklayers, concrete workers, waterproofing and insulators have to have a construction license. In addition, to put in kitchens and bathrooms in Toronto all trades except flooring contractors and window installers need a valid City of Toronto license.

In Hamilton, Ontario a license is required for building maintenance and repair as well. So the rules on how to get a license depend on where you live in the province.

To apply for some trades in every part of Ontario all workers must have a Certificate of Qualification, or “C of Q.” The trades include plumbers, electricians, septic installers, gas fitters, sheet metal worker and refrigeration and air conditioning. A “C of Q.” will certify that these tradespersons have taken the apprenticeship program and have passed the provincial qualification exams that assure their knowledge of the trade in which they will be working.

In order to take the provincial qualification exam each person must show they have the knowledge and experience in the particular trade. This includes:

  • Completion of an apprenticeship program
  • Time in training that meets the minimum industry standards as documented by a certified official.
  • Affirmation by certified official that the applicant has the experience to be a skilled worker.

Construction and Maintenance Electrician

Electricians normally work in both domestic and commercial buildings such as new homes, shopping malls and hotels. Their job entails follow the blueprints to assemble the components, connect the areas to power source and test the electrical fixtures. In addition they also work on alarm systems, exterior lighting, communication writing and heating plants. Unlike general electricians construction and maintenance electricians generally work on a project-by-project basis.

As with many other trades in Ontario the Construction and Maintenance Electrician must complete a five-year apprenticeship that includes 90% on-the-job training and 10% in-school training. An apprentice usually earns minimum wage. Once they receive their Certificate of Qualification or  “C of Q,” he or she is deemed a "journeyperson."

In Ontario an Electrical Contractor License is required to engage in electrical work.

To apply for a license an individual must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Be a Master Electrician or have in his or her employ or employ at least one, full-time Designated Master Electrician
  3. Physically located in the province of Ontario
  4. Have public liability and property damage insurance coverage of at least $2,000,000
  5. Have registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
  6. Be up to date in filing a return with the Ministry of Revenue or of paying any tax and have all penalty or interest assessments paid under the Retail Sales Tax Act or the Corporations Tax Act,
  7. Not be in arrears with the Electrical Safety Authority.

Master Electrician License

A Master Electrician License may be issued to an individual who has performed at least 3 years experience in the electrical trade in Ontario such as:

  1. A journeyperson electrician carrying out work under a valid Certificate of Qualification, or  “C of Q,” or
  2. An individual electrician who works for an electrical contractor as a licensed P.Eng. registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario, or
  3. An individual electrician who woks for an electrical contractor such as a CET or C.Tech registered with the OACETT.

To be eligible for an ECRA/ESA Master Electrician Licence the applicant shall;

  1. Be at least 18 years of age;
  2. Demonstrate at least 3 years experience,
    a) as a Construction and Maintenance Electrician, Domestic and Rural Electrician, or an Industrial Electrician Certificate of Qualification carrying out work under a valid certificate of qualification (C of Q), or
    b) working for an electrical contractor as a licensed Professional Engineer, and be registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario, or
    c) working for an electrical contractor in the capacity of a Certified Engineering Technician or a Certified Engineering Technologist registered with the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists;
  3. Have passed the Master Electrician Qualifying Examination within the 12 month period preceding the date of the licence application; and
  4. Not owe the ESA any money for which payment arrangements have not been made.

Electrical Contractor License is NOT required for:

  1. Electrical work on original equipment from a manufacturer (OEM) if done by an employee or agent of the original manufacturer.
  2. Electrical work on a residence by an owner of the dwelling.
  3. Alarm systems; if done by a person authorized to do such work.
  4. Elevators; if done by a person authorized to do such work
  5. Appliances or electrical devices that plug into an outlet.
  6. Any electrical equipment or electrical installation excluded by Rule 2-000 of the Electrical Safety Code.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic

A refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic works on cooling or heating-and-cooling systems that are used in most settings: residential, commercial, industrial or institutional. They work for companies that design, build, install and service a variety of refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

However, the residential air conditioning mechanics can only work on systems that use no more than 240V single-phase power with a maximum circuit capacity of 60 amps and a capacity for maximum cooling of five tons (60,000 BTUs). They must also go through an apprenticeship program.

Plumbers (Must be Licensed)

In Ontario plumbers must have a license to work in construction or installing fittings and fixtures where the distribution and use of water within a building is involved. This also includes the safe removal of used water from grey and black water in the home to storm drains. Kitchens and bathroom renovations will require licensed plumbers. In addition, licensed plumbers are also required for the wholesale selling of plumbers products but this is not a prerequisite.

Apprentices in the plumbing trade serve a 9,000-hour training period with 720 of these hours in the classroom. Admission to the program requires the applicant o have at least a Grade 10 education and be at least 16 years of age.

Gas Technician / Oil Burner Technician

The Ontario Energy Act requires mandatory training and certification that will be administered by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) under the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations (MCCR). There are various scopes of this trade:

Gas Technician 1 (G1): This person may install, alter, inspect, activate, purge, service, repair or remove any appliance or fitting related to natural gas or propane gas.

Gas Technician 2 G2): This trade is more limited that a Gas Fitter 1 and can only work on the aspect of gas appliances up to 400,000 BTU’s.

Gas Technician 3 (G3): In reality this person is a qualified helper for the first two gas fitters. Under the direct supervision of a G.1 or G.2 he or she may work on gas piping or tubing that is less then 2 inches in diameter.

Oil Burner Technician 1 (OBT1): This person may install, alter, inspect, activate, purge, service, repair or remove any appliance or fitting related to oil burning systems.

Oil Burner Technician 2 (OBT2): This person can do everything that the OBT1 can do that has an input not greater than 7 U.S. gallons per hour.

Oil Burner Technician 3 (OBT3): Under the direct supervision of a an OBT-2 or OBT-1 this person may clean, remove, and replace a flue pipe or a barometric damper. In addition he or she ca clean, lubricate or perform maintenance work on appliances with an input rating no greater than 2 U.S.

Changes to Licensing Requirements

Because licensing requirements change it is important that you check with both your provincial and local municipal office to verify if any updates have been made or additional licenses are required.

If we've missed anything or if you're aware of changes that have taken place, use the form below to include additional or updated licensing requirements, restrictions or laws pertaining to skilled trades and construction work performed in the province of Ontario.

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