Electrical Safety Authority Explained

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Electrical Safety Authority

Electrical Safety Authority

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) of Ontario is a not-for-profit corporation, and operates as the administrative authority under the Electricity Act. The Authority is responsible for ensuring that the Ontario Electrical Safety Code is followed under the Electricity Act.

The Authority is designated by Ontario Regulation 89/99 as “the responsible authority for purposes of section 113 of the Electricity Act, 1998 and regulations made thereunder. “The only such regulation is Ontario Regulation 164/99 as amended by Ontario Regulation 10/02. This regulation adopts, by reference, the Canadian Electrical Code together with specific Ontario amendments and is referred to as the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC).”

The OESC is law in Ontario, and as such is updated every four years by a number of committees representing electrical expertise and knowledge from across Canada and the United States. These experts include provincial government ministries staff, manufacturers, electric utilities, electrical contractors, consumers, consulting engineers and certification organizations.

The OESC lays out the legal requirements of safe installations, and the associated products and equipment within the province.

The Electrical Safety Authority is available online for Ontarians to ask questions on such topics as:

  • Service Inspection
  • Rough-in Inspection
  • Kitchen Outlets & Circuits (GFCIs)
  • Final Inspection
  • Wiring & Wiring Methods
  • Recessed Lighting Requirements
  • Panelboards

The Electrical Safety Authority is also responsible for identifying/developing proposals for new regulations. Part of the process includes all the preparatory work to support any such proposals, and does involve detailed stakeholder consultations.

In 2004 the government of Ontario amended the Electricity Act of 1998 to so that the Electrical Safety Authority could address concerns about electrical safety, developing consistent provincial standards for the licensing and training of electricians.

Now there is a framework in place – administered by the Electrical Safety Authority – for the licensing of electrical contractors and master electricians in compulsory electrical trades.

Since January 1, 2007, it is illegal for someone to operate an electrical contracting business in Ontario without first obtaining an electrical contractor license from the ECRA/Electrical Safety Authority.

Also, no person may assume the role of a master electrician without first obtaining a master electrician license.

Also, the Ontario Building Code includes a limited number of provisions governing electrical equipment and fixtures – primarily dealing with location within a building.

Any questions regarding the Electrical Safety Code can be answered by going online to the Electrical Safety Authority website: www.esafe.com, or by phoning 1-877-ESA-SAFE.

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