Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

November 12, 2021

EIN ESA Grounded 400Soussanna Karas, Director of Licensing at ESA, breaks down the risks of the underground economy and the tools to combat unlicensed and unpermitted electrical work.

In her four years with the Electrical Safety Authority, Director of Licensing Soussanna Karas has seen hundreds of cases against unlicensed contractors performing electrical work. Statistics Canada estimates the “underground economy” is over $16 billion dollars in Ontario alone and residential construction remains at the top of that list. That’s why Karas works with a team to educate homeowners and licensed electrical contractors alike on how to eliminate unlicensed and unpermitted electrical work.

“In the licensing department, all of us are passionate about safety,” said Karas. “I doubt you’ll find anybody more dedicated to pursuing the underground economy than folks in my department.”

In this episode, Josie Erzetic chats with Soussanna Karas on how to identify and report underground electrical work. And, Karas will help guide licensed electrical contractors on the best ways to protect their own licensure.

Go HERE to listen or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts

How to identify and report unlicensed contractors

One of the easiest ways to identify the underground economy at work is by noticing what’s missing on the invoices, estimates, advertisements or the contractors’ vehicle: an ECRA/ESA licence number.

As a licensed electrical contractor, you are required to put your ECRA/ESA number on the truck or van that belongs to you and is on the road. If there’s no number on a vehicle or an advertisement from a contractor, that should be a huge red flag — and something that should be reported to the ESA. 

“If you do see somebody who you suspect might be doing unlicensed electrical work in your neighborhood, or anywhere that you pass by, please do use our anonymous reporting tool on the website,” Karas urged.  “You don't have to identify yourself, but we do ask you to put all the information that you see and as much detail as possible so that we can identify and follow up.”

Since April of last year, Karas and her team have received hundreds of leads about potential non-compliances that they review and follow up on. They’ve been able to pinpoint certain areas that are more at-risk to be completed by unlicensed contractors.

“One of the trends that we just recently noticed is the increasing number of pot light installations. And some might say, ‘Well, what's the big deal?’ But it is a big deal. I can tell you that we received 81 online complaints regarding pot light installations, and it's covering 174 locations. That is a staggering number,” she said.

When Karas receives reports of unlicensed work, she pulls out her number one weapon against the underground economy: education. She starts by trying to help the non-compliant person understand their mistake and how they can become in compliance.

“We want to make sure that if it's a one off, we are showing them understanding and education. If it's something serious and a pattern, then we escalate and take more serious steps,” Karas said.

99% of all prosecutions conducted by ESA are against unlicensed electrical contractors.

“We want to make sure that the public knows, and those who are in the underground economy know that we are looking into this and we are serious about this.”

Protecting yourself against the underground economy

Licensed electrical contractors are at risk to be taken advantage of by the underground economy. Many times, Karas has found that unlicensed contractors will fraudulently use licensed professionals’ ECRA/ESA numbers without their consent.

In these instances, there is no notification of work being filed, putting both consumers and the reputation of LECs at risk. That’s why you have to be careful of who you share your business license with. 

“My message to you, our listeners, is to make sure that if you entrust somebody to advertise on your behalf, that there are mechanisms to review and control those advertisements so you’re not taken advantage of.”

It’s also important for LECs to be wary of subcontracting practices. All of the electrical work on behalf of a licensing electrical contracting business must be done by employees on the payroll. That way, each worker will be covered by liability insurance and WSIB protection.

On the other hand, if you enlist the help of an unlicensed electrical contractor, you’re putting your business at risk.

“If you hire somebody who doesn't have a license and who's not on your payroll, there are many risks to your reputation, safety, defects, and injury that's not going to be covered by insurance.”

Listen to the full episode to hear even more of Kara’s additional advice on keeping in compliance with ESA’s licensure guidelines.



 

EIN ABB logo 400ABB is an international company with a large global presence, but did you know that a significant percentage of the products sold in Canada are also designed and manufactured locally?

ABB’s Installation Products division, formerly known as Thomas & Betts, operates seven manufacturing facilities in Canada, six of them in Quebec and one in Alberta.

Many of their most well-known brands, including IBERVILLE®️️, Marrette®️️, Microlectric®️️, and Star Teck®️️, are products that started in Canada and are still manufactured locally to meet Canadian standards.

 

 


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

Latest Articles

  • Prev
As part of Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit held virtually on November 10th, Electrical ...
As I come to the end of my second year of apprenticeship, I find myself reflecting on the last ...
On November 10, 2021, Schneider Electric held its virtual Innovation Summit North America, which ...
All energized electrical work tasks performed require an Energized Electrical Work Permit (EEWP) to ...
Siemens' Cloud Apps portfolio includes a collection of Apps that use the Cloud to connect to ...
The employment income of those who certify in the trades, otherwise known as journeypersons, ...
Heat pumps use air to heat refrigerant to produce heat inside the home. They are an alternative ...
Rule 46-000 Scope – states that Section 46 is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code and ...
In Canada, approximately one in three households use electric baseboards, with Quebec, BC, ...
 In Ajax, Ontario, Ideal Industries (Canada) Ltd. conducted an Electrical boot camp for ...


 

 Siemens Built In Isolation Products 400By Alyssa Kerslake

Life safety today is top of mind for nearly everyone. There is a certain level of trust that fire alarm systems continue to work within a fire incident. With system survivability being a key concern to regulators, building managers, and the public, Siemens has developed systems that are designed to meet and exceed regulations that protect people, property, and assets. 

One of the most significant concerns, particularly in a large multi-story building, is implementing a secure and fully functional fire alarm system. Today, it is not uncommon to have power and data for hundreds of fire alarm devices connected over a single pair of wires. The concern is, if a fault occurs somewhere between the devices, the zone and location of the device may no longer be known, or the operation of that circuit reduced or possibly impaired. These scenarios could allow an undetected catastrophic event to develop within the space due to inoperable life safety devices. 

 

Read More


 

 

David Gordon

By Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

The CSA Z462 Workplace electrical safety Standard published its 2021 Edition in January.  A mandatory requirement for an employer is developing, implementing, and auditing an Electrical Safety Program.  If you have an Electrical Safety Program, is it up to date in its policies, practices and procedural requirements, is it performing as expected?  Workers do not necessarily do what you expect, they do what you inspect!  Management of change is required.

I have been involved in supporting industry with respect to shock and arc flash hazards in the workplace and in understanding what needs to be done to ensure worker safety, that effective defendable due diligence is established, and evidence of compliance is available related to occupational health & safety regulations both Provincial, Territorially or Federally.  I am in Ontario this week completing a detailed Electrical Safety Audit at multiple enterprise facilities.


Read More


 

 

AMI

By Jerome Leroy - VP, North America, Buildings & Territories

In just 18 months, our industry has seen businesses locked down and borders closed. Lead times have grown from weeks to months and orders have been cancelled. Copper prices have nearly doubled and continue to increase. We’ve seen an increasing number of extreme weather events, for instance Texas shut down by cold weather and British Columbia hit by record heat. And, of course, the pandemic has affected every economy in the world.

Make no mistake: these events characterize a new normal where, we believe, we’re seeing the emergence – and acceleration – of two widescale trends. The first is supply chain disruption. The second is the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Read More


 

Product News

  • Prev
On the hottest days of the summer and the coldest of the winter, the Napoleon NS18 heat pump and ...
Lumenwerx is pleased to launch Aera, an innovative lighting family that marks a new era in recessed ...
Eaton’s humidity sensor and fan control (HDFS3P1) device is a single pole humidity sensor for ...
With an EC motor and smart control, ORA-EC40 series air curtains are ideal for commercial and ...
Klein Tools expands its line of insulated screwdrivers with new lengths and tips, as well as a new ...
EarthTronics LED High Lumen Wattage & Color Selectable Series to provide flexibility and full ...
Eaton’s astronomic programmable timer (AT18HM) device reduces energy consumption by automating ...
The HomeGuard LED family of residential security lights, with rugged die cast aluminum ...
This preassembled constant wattage heating cable from Ouellet is specialized for roof and gutter ...


 

Milwaukee M12 Cable Stripper

Connect plug-in lamps, holiday lighting, and small appliances to the top “Controlled” outlet, while the bottom “Powered” outlet remains always on. The DW15R features tamper resistant receptacles with built-in shutters to prevent the insertion of unintended foreign objects. As well, the integrated button with vanishing feedback LED provides manual push-button on/off control and clear indiciation at any time.

Simplify control of the residence - schedule lamps and connected loads to turn on/off at specific times or based on sunrise/sunset, easily group smart devices into rooms, and create scenes to activate multiple loads at once. Utilize the auto-shutoff feature as a countdown timer in closets, hallways and bathrooms.

Read More


 

 

Incoplas Hybrid

Now available for Siemens Class 52 Actuators and Indicator Lights are the new Class 1, Div. 2 contact blocks. Suitable for use in Hazardous Location, Class 1, Div. 2 applications when used in a suitable enclosure. No matter which style actuator you use, the common base provided attaches to the hazardous location contact blocks easily.

Hazardous Location (HL) Series Contact Blocks are good for Hazardous Location CL1, DIV2 Applications using a Standard Enclosure NEMA 1, 12, 13, 4, 4X.

HL Series Contact Blocks are rated for switching high inrush loads like Tungsten Lamps.

 

Read More


 

 

EarthTronics 25-Watt Emergency Driver for Linear Highbay

The 20A Outlet and 15A Outlet have the ability to allow function specific Inserts to be installed/removed/swapped making this platform an optimal choice for renovations and new construction. The Swidget Outlet is installed using the same wiring as a standard wall receptacle and when paired with a Swidget Insert turns into a powerful and flexible Smart Home device. The swapability of the Inserts ensures that this will work with Smart Home wireless systems now and in the future.

The Swidget product line targets the Home Automation and Smart Home markets with a unique future-proof solution. Swidget currently offers eight smart Inserts with different functionalities including Wi-Fi control, indoor air quality sensor, temperature, humidity, and motion sensors, as well as a USB charger guide light, and emergency lighting. They can all be controlled from anywhere with the Swidget App for iOS/Android or Alexa and Google Home.

Read More


 

Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Allana Kellett-Jamieson loves working in the electrical sector and is proud of the great focus ...
As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the ...
Karen Pullen knows what it’s like to be the only woman on a construction site, and as a proud ...
As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada.   ...
This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven years, ...
EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After ...
Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. ...
As a 34-year-old female owner of an electrical contracting business, Danielle Gray may be unique. ...


EngWorksBy Blake Marchand

EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After a short time we realized there was a niche in hazardous locations, in particular in hazardous area classification design requirements for various facilities. And also helping people understand just how the Canadian Electrical Code applies to hazardous locations.”

Given the complexity of hazardous locations, Bozek saw a need for education while working in the field and began developing training courses designed.

Read More


 

Éric DeschênesBy Line Goyette

As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the electrical industry. He has a long track record and a passion for finding practical solutions to optimize technology adoption. Deschênes took on his current role with ABB January of 2020, he joined ABB in 2017 as Executive VP of the Electrification business after 15 years with Schneider Electric.

We met with him recently to discuss his new role at the helm of ABB Canada and his plans moving forward. He began by pointing out that the recent change to ABB Canada's structure, as elsewhere in the world, was made to make customer relations more straightforward. 

Read More


 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil