New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)

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Posted by: from Toronto
5/7/2016 at 4:22:35 AM

I'm looking for some clarification on this: My electrical contractor tells me that permits are now required for such things as changing out a light fixture or replacing an existing switch or plug. Is this the case? It used to be that as as long as no changes were made to the existing wiring, then no permit was required. The key word here is "existing." Nothing is being added or removed from the circuit. I'm referring to things like swapping a standard duplex receptacle for a Decora type receptacle.

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Marco from MCC Electric in Quispamsis
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 9:22:36 AM

I don't know what the laws are in Ontario but here in New Brunswick I am allowed to install up to 10 devices and 5000 watts of heat without a permit. Check with your local electrical authorities and they will be able to answer your questions.

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Date/Time5/7/2016 at 10:58:14 AM

Hello. Your contractor is lying just to charge you extra few hundred dollars for inspection.

You don't need to open permit to replace devices or luminaries, you don't need permit for low voltage lights or to service existing equipment.

Master electrician, licenced since 2004.

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Dave from Nemco in Cambridge
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 11:26:49 AM


This should clarify what exactly your looking for.


um connections.

For more information refer to Flash notice, 'Aluminum wiring in residential installations' 09-08-FL.

(b) Replacement of luminaires and general use switches in a single dwelling unit Rule


Question 6:

Can a home owner replace an existing surface mounted luminaire with a recessed luminaire in their single dwelling unit

without filing an application for inspection?

Answer 6:


Sub-rule (b)(viii) does not allow replacing the existing luminaire with a recessed luminaire unless an application for inspection is filed.

Question 7:

Can a single dwelling owner replace a general-use switch with a dimmer, timer or a motion sensor light switch in his/her own single dwelling without filing an application for inspection?

Answer 7:


Sub-rule (b) allows the single dwelling owner to replace the general-use switch without filing an application for inspection.

Question 8:

Does the basic exemption in Sub-rule (b) allow an occupant leasing a single dwelling to replace a luminaire or generaluse

switch without filing an application for inspection?

Answer 8:


Sub-rule (b) does not include the occupant leasing the single dwelling to replace a luminaire or general-use switch without filing an application.


The occupant may perform the work in accordance with Ontario Regulation 570/05 (Licensing Of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians) but will be required to file an application for inspection.

Question 9:

Is an owner of a duplex dwelling unit who occupies one unit and rents out the other dwelling unit allowed to replace a general-use switch or luminaire in the rental unit without application for inspection?

Answer 9:


Sub-rule (b)(i) only applies to the owner occupying their dwelling unit.


The owner is allowed to perform the work in accordance to Ontario Regulation 570/05, but will be required to obtain an application for inspection since he/she does not occupy the rental unit.

Question 10:

Is an owner who occupies a dwelling unit in a high-rise condominium allowed to replace a general-use switch or luminaire without application for inspection.




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Date/Time5/7/2016 at 12:24:39 PM

Page 2 of the ammendments table B1 attached.

LEC (licenced electrical contractor) allowed to do all of the above without a permit.

Owner is not planing to do it himself.

New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)
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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 2:56:39 PM

You did not mention if you had aluminum wiring, which may require a small job inspection to ensure electricians are using "approved connectors" for use on aluminum...not copper wire nuts with anti-ox paste.... (looking at you guilty, cheap guys not following code). I've been to numerous calls where copper marrettes have been used and the connections are melted. Most recent, a LEC (contractor), pigtailed an entire home (as stated on the bill), so all receptacles, switches and light fixtures should have been 100% pigtailed from aluminum to copper, using AL approved wire nuts and paste (especially on stranded wires). All connectors were wrong, no switches were done, and no light fixtures removed. By code - ALL connections must be done properly. Result - ESA made me apply for a permit for 300 devices so they could spot-check all connections were done 100%. That permit cost $300 so if this guy claims he needs a permit simple ask for the "NOTIFICATION NUMBER" as well as certificate which should state what work was done.. If not, call ESA and file a complaint against him. Maybe he is not a Licensed Electrical Contractor. you should be able to search his company here and his license number -

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 3:01:39 PM

Here are some examples of pics I've taken of the melted items. The brown wire connectors are approved for aluminum. pictures should appear soon

New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)

New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)

New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)

New permit rules (Ontario Electrical Code)
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Doug in Toronto
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 5:16:14 PM

Here's the deal: I was hiring the electrical contractor for a panel upgrade and during the conversation he mentioned that among his qualifications he was able to replace plugs without needing to pull a permit.

I was surprised because as far as I knew, no permit was required for that job anyway.

He said that it was a recent change to the code.

I said, "so if I, for example, want to change from a standard plug to a Decora plug, without making any other changes to the existing wiring, I need to pull a permit." And he said yes. We didn't go so far as to discuss light fixtures...

I'm all for safety, and I am sick and tired of having to clean up the mess created by the previous owner, but this seems like overkill. I doubt everyone in the electrical aisle at Home Depot or Canadian Tire has pulled permits or is even aware of the rule changes.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/7/2016 at 5:29:19 PM

like-for-like devices (receptacles) require no permit for single family dwellings. Multi-family or condos, different story. If he wants to get ESA to inspect changing copper wired devices from old duplex to decora, I am sure the ESA would be happy to have his (your) cash, providing it is a single family home detached and built from 1980's onward. Otherwise a permit may be needed. Call ESA and ask them, they will ask the details. But if you don't trust your contractor, maybe you should hire a different one licensed from the ESA website.

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Date/Time5/10/2016 at 9:04:13 AM

Hi Doug

The guys are spot on in this case. In very simple terms, if it is a 'like for like' exchange of devices or fixtures then a permit is not required; that is the basic rule. Then there are a number of exceptions; which for the LEC seems pretty insane such as a permit is required if you do anything in a panel (change a breaker) or if the circuit is over 30 amps (change a stove receptacle) or install a recessed light (think pot light.

The wording in the code book sounds like some incantation to conjure up electrical spirits to people that are not familiar or are untrained, but in reality there are only a few instances when you do not need a permit.

All of this applies to what is called 'owner occupied' dwellings. Dave posted some of the portions of the Ontario Amendments and you can see there are subtle words used that delineate the requirement for a permit or not such as 'recessed', not exceeding', 'same location', etc.

If you use this link and scroll down to rule 2-005; this is the amended rule for the 2015 code that came into effect this month (May 2016). This rule needs to be read with 2-004 and cannot be read alone.

The rules with the Delta symbol (triangular shape) are technical differences between the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) and the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) and the ones with the Trillium symbol is a specific OESC amendment and may not be in the CEC or may be substantially different then the CEC.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Jeff from JRG Electric Ltd in Surrey
Date/Time5/15/2016 at 3:32:00 PM

I am not sure about the Ontario Acts & Regulations but I do know in BC it is not required to have a permit for things such as changing light fixture, switches, receptacles. There are a number of other items that can be changed without a permit depending on voltage and current ratings of the device being changed.

You should search the Electrical Acts & Regulations in your area to find out exactly what requires a permit. Any licensed contractor should also be able to provide you with this information.

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Doug in Toronto
Date/Time6/6/2016 at 4:04:31 PM

Thank you all for your responses.

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