Old electrical wires

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Posted by: from Toronto
2/11/2016 at 8:18:56 PM


I am a super for 350 units in toronto. My manager has asked me to replace a light fixture where the wire insulation is falling off when I connect the light. I believe this wiring is illegal and I requested a licensed electrician to rewire this part of the wall. I removed the light, turned off the breaker and informed the tenant of the issue. Later my manager sent another super to install the light. After the light was installed I informed my manager again of the dangers involved and no changes were made. I had the same problem with a range-hood in another unit.

Also, today I was asked to change an electrical outlet where the electrical box cemented in the wall was missing the tabs to screw the outlet to the box. I will be informing her that I refuse to do this work and she needs to hire a electrician. I expect the same type of reply from her as before. In the mean time the same 'other super' had silicone the outlet to the box which I later disconnected and removed.

I tried to contact and they directed me to their website where it seems I must buy a copy of the ontario electrical safety code in order to read up on the legalities of electrical work. I do not want to pay $200 in order to read the ontario electrical safety code to verify my beliefs on electrical safety.

What is a super to do? Who can I contact for electrical code rules?


Old electrical wires
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Date/Time2/11/2016 at 9:58:43 PM

In your case I would take pictures and then call ESA at 1-877-372-7233. Tell them what's going on aND ask for the number of the inspector in that area. Email him the pictures as well. Ask for a general inspection.

That free of charge. They may end up doing a facility audit and order the landlord to make repairs.

Esa has the power to pull the meter if the found defects are not corrected in a timely manner.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time2/11/2016 at 10:19:55 PM

Hey Charles,

It is nice to hear you refusing to make illegal repairs where peoples safety is at risk and even at the possibility of you becoming a "trouble" to the person you work for, rest assured you are doing the right thing to find someone to help you.

The call center person probably did not fully understand that you are working for someone who is actually not licensed to do repairs. They are probably a manager of some sort but the issue lies that inspections can be pushed and enforced if you contact the right person. No need to feel your job is at risk, if anything, the other person who is doing the shotty repairs needs to be let go to find a job siliconing windows and tubs if anything. Call ESA again and tell them clearly you need to speak to a Chief inspector and provide the building address and the corporation you are working for. If that doesn't work, email me directly and I will find who the inspector is for that region and pass his info to you. People like that need to get real and understand they are putting peoples safety at risk. What if some baby crawls on the floor and gets electrocuted and you read about it in the paper.

We certainly can't stop all the idiots, but we can certainly try our best. Well done for you!

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time2/11/2016 at 10:28:09 PM

if in the future you find melting wires inside junction boxes, you can buy heat shrink tubing that you can slip over the individual conductors and heat it to restore the insulating properties. It is one way of repairing it. one over the white, one over the black, then another larger one over the outer sheathing as well. It wont be a new wire, but it wont cause a fire.

The receptacle with broken ears is a tougher fix, but you can buy a low voltage wall plate adaptor that will allow you to fasten the plate to the wall and possibly to the box inside. There are also extension sleeves you can buy from arlingon (plastic) that have no back, but slide into the existing box to prevent the plug from arcing inside the old box.

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Date/Time2/12/2016 at 12:03:01 AM

Hello Charles,

My name is Jason Williams and I am currently an electrical apprentice working for my fathers electrical business.

I am pleased to hear you took a stand and did your due diligence to address an issue that could be a potential fire hazard. If the insulation of the wire has deteriorated such that the wire is exposed than that presents a risk of the wire shorting against the grounded box.

For your information, any electrical work MUST be completed by a licensed electrician. Here is a link to esa's publication that shows the fines and penalties of non licensed contractors who were caught doing electrical work:

I will speak with my father about this issue in the morning and consult with him on what he recommends you do. I am surprised esa did not take this matter more seriously.

Best regards,


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Date/Time2/12/2016 at 7:48:03 PM

You really should contact your local inspections department, even small electrical jobs like changing fixtures should be left to certified tradesmen, for reasons like you just pointed out for one, and also what if something happens, would you be held liable if you were performing the work!! All electrical work in Canada is supposed to be performed by a certified electrician and permits are supposed to be submitted to electrical inspections department, much on the time this doesn't happen! It's better off to leave to professionals!!

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Date/Time2/13/2016 at 9:22:41 AM

Hello Charles,

I spoke with my father and he definitely sees this issue as a potential fire hazard. The best course of action if you would like to pursue the issue is to send an email to esa so that it is on record stating that you as the super intendant are doing your due dilegence to address a potential fire hazard which puts the lives of the apartments residence at risk if not addressed. Further more and perhaps more important is to contact the labour board and also cc them on the email sent to esa. The labour board is the governing body that protects your rights of safety in the workplace. You do not have the proper license to do such work which already is a safety concern. Futher more if the wire jacket is deteriated the chance of the wire shorting on the box is significant. Without the proper saftey protocols you are at risk of getting shocked which could potentially kill you. This is obviously a huge safety concern. The labour board being aware of the circumstances will not only protect your safety in the workplace but it will also protect your position of employment should your boss try to fire you for notifying esa and the labourboard.

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact me! I am glad you are taking this seriosuly. The majority of house fires are due to improper electrical installations.

Best regards,


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