What happens if a contractor does not get an ESA permit?

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Posted by: from Windsor
8/12/2015 at 4:52:06 AM

We hired a general contractor to do an upstairs room addition. The general contractor did not obtain an ESA permit. May have hired an unlicensed electrician. Now the walls will need to be opened for inspection. The general contractor has now abandoned the project.

What do we do and who is legally liable for this?

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Date/Time8/12/2015 at 12:21:01 PM

The general contractor is responsible for the whole job and all the subcontractors he has hired. When he wrote the quote, all of these types of expenses should have been taken into consideration if you are dealing with a reputable company. If he doesn't honor, then legal action may need to be taken.

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Date/Time8/13/2015 at 3:50:35 PM

The first step is to get a hold of the ESA and see what they will accept as a remedial action for this.

They may simply request that you hire a licienced electrical contractor to look at the work, fix any non-compliant issues and have it inspected. They may however want you to remove all the drywall and have that inspected; it is there call.

Generally they are good to work with if you are trying to make it right and do the right thing. They are like bulldogs if you try to take advantage or try to get away with stuff.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time8/13/2015 at 3:51:39 PM

Should be *their call, not there...

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Fred in Windsor
Date/Time8/14/2015 at 10:59:50 AM

I have had I believe three responses to this question. Thank you very much for the responses. We have done what your responses have all said we should do which is to inform ESA of the situation. Here is the response from the contractor we hired.

"Under the current Building Permit issued to XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX, XXX to date have already been inspected by the City of Windsor Building Department. All Building Codes have been met and Inspections Passed. All Inspections performed by the City of Windsor Building Department include: Electrical, Heating & Cooling, and Building Construction. Final Inspection is due upon completion."

We again checked with ESA and three people from that organization have told us this is not factual statement from the contractor, the building permit does not cover the electrical work as stated. We X'd out the name of the contractor we hired as we do not want to libel a contractor unfairly. It just appears that this contractor has again lied to us. If anyone on this site could respond from a contractors point of view to what this particular contractor stated it would be greatly appreciated. It just does not seem that we are being told the truth by this contractor since this is the first response from the firm we contracted with concerning this issue.

I want to add that this was a contract that was supposed to take 4 weeks, we have not seen the contractor since January 31, 2015, and the hold up is a waterproof decking material for a 10' by 12' upper deck, and we are a few weeks shy of the one year anniversary of signing the contract. What are your thoughts on this?

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Date/Time8/14/2015 at 9:29:55 PM

There are essentially only two types of people that can obtain a permit for electrical work; the homeowner or a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC).

The inspection process is completed by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). While some LEC may belong to the Authorized Contractor Program (ACP) where there is an approach of random inspection(s), all work is required to have a permit and once complete will be issued a Certificate of Inspection.

The work must be completed by an LEC or the homeowner (depending who took out the permit).

The ESA will want to know who did the work and will likely pursue the General Contractor (GC); they have a history of laying fines via the courts to put a stop to people that are not authorized to electrical work in Ontario. Here is the ESA site that has a number of articles of where they have pursued some GCs


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions

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Date/Time2/13/2016 at 6:23:22 PM

General is responsible to supply licensed trades and have permits are best to deal with this yourself now as costs to collect will exceed this....a word to all reading contracts are cheap jobs, you will get what you pay for...always ask for proof of provincial requirements and licenses before handing a dime over..average cost for electrical work is $100/hr. + materials.

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Date/Time12/23/2016 at 10:41:53 PM

The average cost for a sparky in BC is between 30-40.00 an hour and in a pinch 50.00 an hour.


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Date/Time3/15/2018 at 8:10:29 PM

Robert, That would be how much an electrician is getting paid to do the work by their company, then there's the overhead costs, permits, insurance, benefits, etc.

The average cost of an Electrician from a company that is bonded, insured and licensed can range from 65-100$ per hour in BC depending on location and then any materials, minimum hourly call out times and service call charges.

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