Electrical Rules

By the Orillia Home Inspector

Certified Building Code Official


Electrical Rules in Ontario


Planning a renovation? Updating the kitchen or bathroom? Adding new lighting? If your project involves new electrical wiring or devices, or repairing/replacing old ones, you need to know your obligations under Ontario law.

Don’t let your home improvement dream become a nightmare.  Follow the law and do it right.

Here’s how:


The Ontario Electrical Safety Code

Electrical installation, repair and replacement work needs to be done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.  The Code specifies how electrical work must be done.  The Code is updated every three years to address emerging technology and improvements in safety practices. Always refer to the current edition of the Code.  Purchase a Code book.  

To confirm whether the Code applies to the work you're planning, call 1-877-372-7233.

Permits and Fees

An electrical permit needs to be taken out before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts.

If you’re doing the electrical work, you need to take out the permit. If you hire someone, they must take out the permit. Do nottake out a permit on behalf of a contractor or anyone else. Learn more about who is allowed to do electrical work in your home.

Electrical permits are not the same as a building permit. If you have a building permit, it doesn’t mean you have an electrical permit.

The fee for an electrical permit varies according to the type of work being done. Find out more about electrical permit fees.

To confirm permit requirements and to get your permit, call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).


ESA's expert Inspectors will review the electrical work, sometimes at multiple stages if it's complicated. If the work isn't done in compliance with the Code, he or she will issue a defect notice which outlines what corrections must be made. 

Once the inspection is complete, whoever took out the permit receives an ESA certificate of inspection.  If your contractor took out the permit, get a copy of the certificate for your records from him or her prior to settling your bill. You can also call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233) for a copy.

Licensed Electrical Contractors

If you are hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor.* Learn moreabout how Licensed Electrical Contractors help keep you and your family safe, and how they can save you time and money. 

General handymen and other service providers cannot do electrical work in residences unless they hold a Licence. If you hire a general contractor, confirm that the electrical work will be done by a licensed subcontractor.

A Licensed Electrical Contractor is required to display their ESA/ECRA licence number. Ask to see it.




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Inspection Definitions

1. Chimney - vent flue gases from fireplaces or heating equipment.
2.  Chimney flue top or chimney cap (if present)
3.  Chimney crown or chimney top seal
4.  Chimney Flashing seals the roof penetration to avoid leaks into the structure.
5. Masonry fireplace
6. Fireplace ash pit door. 
7.  Fireplace ash pit cleanout door.
8.  Fireplace mantel - horizontal trim attached to wall above fireplace opening.
9. Hearth - flat surface in front of the fireplace, protects flooring from fire.
10. Ridge cap or ridge vent (if present)
11. Ridge board
12. Cripple rafters or Jack rafters (between chimney and house eaves - rafters that do not extend the full distance between house eaves and the roof ridge board)
13. Rafter blocking or cross bridging, also found on floor joists and in some wall framing
14. Soffit or lookout or house eaves. The soffit is the enclosed portion of the roof that overhangs the house walls at the roof lower edges.
15. Roof sheathing or roof decking.
16. Roof shingles (asphalt shingles, clay tiles, slates, wood shingles, or shakes, similar materials)
17. Drip edge (used at lower roof edges or eaves). The drip edge is special metal flashing intended to divert water off of the roof lower edges into the roof gutter system. Drip edges should spill into the gutter, not behind it. 
18. Gutter (attached over or to fascia board) to collect roof drainage and prevent it from spilling down and along the building walls (leaks) and basement (wet basements
19. Downspouts (conduct roof drainage from the gutters to a destination away from the building or into a storm drain system).
20.  Downspout leader or downspout extension (hard to see, behind that front right entry porch column)
21. Gable end and gable-end attic vent. The gable end the house wall on a conventional simple gable roof such as shown in our sketch is the triangular end wall
22. Gable end fascia. The gable end fascia is the trim board attached to the roof edges, extending from ridge to lower roof edge, and where a rake overhang is present, covering the outermost rake rafter or barge rafter.
23. Gable end vent or attic vent at gable end