My GC did electrical work without license or permit

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Posted by: from Niagara
7/21/2018 at 1:20:08 PM


We recently underwent some home renovations. We hired a general contractor to come in and do all of the work. Things went sour after 19 weeks (7 weeks after the scheduled completion date) and we ended up parting ways with 65% of the renos complete and our budget all but empty.

We had a guy come in to look at an unfinished part of the renos today and he told us that we needed a permit for the electrical work and it had to be done by a licensed electrician. We had no idea of this prior and our GC did all of the electrical work himself.

Two out of the three fans installed in bedrooms make an irregular tapping sound and today we are having intermittent surges downstairs.

Where do we stand? What can we do? This is just another notch on an ever growing list of problems we have had with this guy.

I appreciate any help in advance.



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Dave from 360renos in Ottawa
Date/Time7/21/2018 at 3:03:59 PM

Hi David

Call ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) and explain your situation.

Ask for an immediate inspection of your home.



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Date/Time7/21/2018 at 3:05:03 PM

Hi David,

Sorry to hear about your unsavoury experience. Firstly there are always two sides to a story and this unfortunately will be presented if you go to court.

The best advice I can give is to contact the ESA (electrical safety authority) and give them the details of the contractor who performed the work himself. They will pursue him for the unlicensed electrical and will have suggestions on how to fix it.

You should also start gathering emails/texts any "facts" about this renovation, why did it take so long, work that needs to be corrected, associated costs etc and seek legal advice.

Kind Regards

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Robert from ElecTriLight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time7/21/2018 at 3:45:08 PM

Hello David,

Unfortunately this work happens every day and as you now know, it is wrong and illegal.

There are so many court cases and fines being handed to these type of people and unlicensed contractors, it is overwhelming at times.

Most know better, but some don't and unfortunately it is he who pays the bill who is generally hurt the most.

Like the others have stated, call the ESA and do not be afraid to state names or to try and protect people. These investigations can be pretty thorough and will cause tensions to rise. For the safety of your home and occupants, turn off the power to the areas that this guy worked on until it is repaired.

Easiest point right now is to report him to ESA and call the city where he is registered as a contractor so they can back track his work as there are probably others who are at risk as well.

I tell so many people, Electrical work is not as simple as they think and codes change every 3 years in Canada, so if you aren't going to school for these updates, chances are, you're not following codes and only putting peoples families at risk.

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Date/Time7/21/2018 at 5:35:47 PM

Wow, that's quite a doozy. You need to call a LICENSED electrician and have home pull an electrical permit. This way it entitled you to an inspection of the work completed. Then you need to get him to troubleshoot and fix everything that is wrong. Unfortunately, there are way to many of these so called GCs that do things they are not qualified or competent to do. You should always ask to see copies of their licensing, insurance, WCB, Etc. It's law they have to produce it. Sorry about what happened to you but it's going to be an expensive ordeal to get your place all fixed right.

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Scott from Gord's Electric in Whitby
Date/Time7/21/2018 at 6:00:42 PM

Call ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) and explain your situation.


Ask for an immediate inspection of your home.

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Jason in Brantford
Date/Time7/22/2018 at 10:44:33 AM

The problem is you will need proof that he did in fact do the electrical work, if you have any documentation of him saying "oh yeah I can wire that fan, bathroom or whatever' otherwise it is a case of he said she said. The GC in question could deny he did any of the electrical work, and with no proof how can he be proven guilty, he could say things like you did it, or you hired another electrician to complete it and as such he will not be held responsible. An example would be say your having a bathroom renovation complete and you did the electrical work, and say the GC did tile work for example and you did not like it you could say oh he did all this terrible work I am going to pursue him for money and get your renovation paid for free essentially. It really is a two way street I see contractors and customers both getting screwed as well as screwing the other. The greatest thing about it tho is it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the contractors fault and he gets a bad rep (eye roll) customer is always right or so they say in the service industry lol if you have documents saying he did the work then pursue him, if not you may not have a case

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Date/Time7/23/2018 at 9:15:08 AM

The fans are probably rubbing and the surge part, some of the circuits may need to be redone.

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David in Niagara
Date/Time7/23/2018 at 10:03:06 AM

Hi all,

Thank you so much for your replies.

I am going to be reaching out to the ESA today for advice.

We have had many, many issues with our GC. Fortunately, my partner and I were extremely cautious and have screenshots of texts already printed and saved for other issues we are having with his work.

We have pictures and texts where he clearly states - "the hood is all wired" followed by a picture of the new hood.

We also have many other texts where he tells us that he has installed/completed various electrical items.

Thank you all again.


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Date/Time7/23/2018 at 1:32:47 PM

Hello David,

We extend our empathy to you in this time of searching. As other electrical contractors have already indicated, know that you are not alone. Many other homeowners face similar tragic circumstances.

At Kirsch Electric, we would typically arrange a formal meeting with our licensed electrical contractor, the residential owner and an inspector from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Together we would assess what electrical work was completed by your general contractor and then compile a detailed list of what needs to be done to rectify the project.

In many such cases, the general contractor is already on a wanted list for fraud, abuse of the bankruptcy process or misrepresentation of licensing credentials. If you suspect any of the above, consider calling the Ontario RCMP at 1-800-387-0020, the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada at 1-877-376-9902 or anonymously calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. In this way, you could be part of preventing this general contractor from taking advantage of another Ontario resident.

To clarify what you already have been told, know that a homeowner is permitted to take out their own ESA permit but that would require they do their own electrical work. We would highly recommended however that you hire a licensed electrical contractor to come alongside of you and address your electrical needs. As already mentioned by Robert from ElecTriLight, you would be wise to take precautionary measures for safety by turning off the power of affected areas.

You are asking the right questions and reaching out to the right people. Persevere.

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Date/Time7/28/2018 at 9:10:02 PM

My previous posting seemed to disappear...

Anyway David, just wanted to say that unfortunately this is not all that uncommon and especially in the Niagara Area with the amount of Renos and builds going on.

My previous post had a lot more to say, but sure enough ESA and OCOT will be interested.

As Henry said in the previous post, we do work with the local (Niagara) inspectors, so give us a shout and we can arrange something with you.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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