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News, Views and Updates from the Electrical Safety Authority

Spring 2015

What you need to know about ESA’s plan for the next 5 years

Har Redum ction Strate gy 2.0

NEW 2015-2020 Strategic Plan p.5

April 2015 – Marc h 2020


What’s Inside


Technically Speaking


Worth Knowing



2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Awards

electrical safety enforcement Year-To-Date Convictions

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Convictions Technically Speaking Contact Us The New 2015-2020 Strategic Plan Customer Service Centre Update Worth Knowing

Conviction of Licensed Electrical Contractors:

Didin General Labour, Toronto Commercial renovation • $ 500 fine, plus victim surcharge – no EC licence

REC Electrician, Brampton Residential renovation • $2,500 fine, plus victim surcharge – falsified a certificate of inspection

Suhkvinder Singh, Brampton A/C and hot water tank • $ 500 fine, plus victim surcharge – no EC licence • $1,500 fine, plus victim surcharge – leaving unsafe condition Franco D’Angelo, Mississauga Wiring new houses • $1,000 fine, plus victim surcharge – no EC licence

If you are aware of anyone doing electrical work in violation of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code or electrical contractor licensing regulations, report it to ESA at 1-877-372-7233 or at ESA looks into every such report we receive.

Important 2015 Wiring Fees Notice

2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Awards

Our Mission: To improve electrical safety for the well-being of the people of Ontario.

Our Vision: An Ontario where people can live, work and play safe from electrical harm.


Convictions of Unlicensed Individuals:


New Apartments & Single Family Dwellings Price Change Deferred Until Aug. 12, 2015 ESA previously communicated that Single Family Dwellings were to be priced based on square footage, and New Apartment Buildings were to be priced based on the number of outlets and devices installed in each apartment unit. Please note that ESA will defer implementation of this change until Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. ESA is forming a working group with contractors to review this pricing. For more information, please visit:

Plugged In is Going Digital We are pleased to announce that the Plugged In newsletter will now be produced in digital format. This provides an opportunity for ESA to reduce mailing and printing costs and to produce greener documents. The print version will continue to be available but over the next year, we will be transitioning to digital versions of all our publications.

How do I get a digital copy? If you already have an email address registered with ESA you will receive a link to the digital version. Just click on the link in your email and you’re ready to start reading. The digital copy, as well as a PDF version, is also available on the website at Tell us what you think! Give us your thoughts on the new digital format at We’d love to hear from you.


technically speaking

Attachment Plugs in Solar Photovoltaic Installations Every electrical system consists of different equipment and devices. It is essential that each piece – no matter how small – is suitable for the application so that the complete electrical system works safely. Among the smallest devices in a solar photovoltaic installation (PV) are the ‘attachment plugs’ (a.k.a. plug-in, sleeve-and-pin or MC4 style connectors). They are a critical component in the system because, as the name suggests, they connect the system together. And, you’ve likely heard the adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. As per OESC Rule 50-020, the connectors used to connect cables between PV modules are required

to be the locking type, and rated for the voltage and current of the circuit in which they are installed. Also, attachment plugs are required to be of a type that requires a tool to open them when they are readily accessible and used in circuits operating at over 30V.


Another important issue that is sometimes overlooked – or its importance is not well recognized – is the ‘mateability’ of connectors approved for use in PV generators. PV connectors are approved for use as a mated pair only (i.e. the connectors are certified as a pair). Therefore, these connectors are not similar to a plug and a receptacle. Interchanging various manufacturers’ connectors voids their approval and hence, is not permitted.

PV modules and connectors

Female Connector Male Connector

PV modules come complete with output leads and connectors. It is important to use the same type of connector with the ones on the PV modules, for the last connection to the combiner box, to prevent compatibility issues. Each manufacturer uses a proprietary mix of materials and procedures in making their connectors. So while there may be electrical and mechanical compatibility at one point, there is no continued evaluation to ensure that changes in the production process of one manufacturer will result in their connectors remaining compatible with those from another. The following is an extract from a certification agency’s guide for this product category: “These devices have only been investigated to mate with the same line of connectors/devices within their product family. These devices have not been investigated to mate with any other similar devices from other manufacturers.” OESC Rule 2-034 requires that devices not be used in any manner other than the purpose or manner for which it is intended. These connectors are approved and intended to be used as a mated pair.

To Combiner Box

• News, Views and Updates from ESA


Contact Us Have you ever had a question for ESA, or wanted to share feedback or a concern? ESA offers many ways for Licensed Electrical Contractors to communicate through our website, Advisory Councils and social media channels. Here is an overview of some of the ways you can reach out to ESA.

ESA on Social Media ESA is active on social media and has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Twitter @HomeandSafety Follow us on Twitter and get the latest safety tips and see the interaction with consumers.

Facebook Electrical Safety Authority ElectricalSafetyAuthority.

Advisory Councils ESA shares information and gains contractor input through the Electrical Contractor Registration Agency (ECRA) Advisory Council and the Contractor Advisory Council (CoAC). The ECRA council primarily deals with licensing requirements and the Contractor Advisory Council gathers feedback on operational issues.

membership is comprised of at least five LECs plus other members representing the public and the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasures of Ontario (AMCTO).

Both councils have 10 members. CoAC members must be representatives of the electrical contracting industry. ECRA’s

For more information on either council or to provide feedback to CoAC or ECRA please contact esa.

Both councils meet four times a year to make recommendations on issues, strategies and policies.

ESA Website Contact Us Section

The Contact Us section is a great place to submit a question or concern to ESA. The Contact Us email address is monitored daily and all queries are forwarded to the appropriate ESA department for a timely response.


Got a Question?

Visit the FAQ section of the website through the link on the homepage to submit questions regarding the Code, Licensing, Enforcement or Plan Review. The FAQ also houses a searchable database of previously asked questions and answers.

• News, Views and Updates from ESA

YouTube ElectricalSafetyAuthorityESA – to watch all of ESA’s safety videos.

LinkedIn Want to join ESA? Check out our LinkedIn page for the latest career opportunities company/electricalsafety-authority.



The Five-Year Plan technically speaking



ESA will ensure stakeholders recognize us as an effective, publicly accountable organization.

STRATEGY ESA will ensure we maintain a good understanding of stakeholder perceptions of ESA’s accountability and we will address key gaps. We will establish a new multi-stakeholder perception measure to track perceptions and changes in perception over time.

Establish a new multistakeholder accountability perception measure and achieve improvements in lower performing areas, as required.


New Strategy Focuses on Safety, Compliance & Public Accountability

Major Activities 2015-2020



Execute regular stakeholder research to monitor perceptions; target improvements in lower performing areas.

Be at the forefront of regulatory best practices.




and critical injuries over the next five years.

For more detail, see page 19.

14 Electrical Safety Authority

would be an improvement on the current 13 per cent combined rate of reduction of fatalities and critical injuries.

ESA will operate from a position of knowledge and insight about electrical safety. We will use that knowledge to identify the areas of greatest risk and prioritize efforts on them. We will anticipate emerging risks and act to reduce them.

Major Activities 2015-2020



In April, ESA launched a new five-year corporate strategy – the Harm Reduction Strategy 2.0. It continues many of the themes of the Harm Reduction Strategy established in 2010. The focus is on continuing to improve electrical safety in Ontario while ensuring ESA fulfils its regulatory role and serves the public interest.



ESA will seek to

Achieve a 20 per cent Maintain financial Maintain Effectively sustainability and robust with in the combined improve theinternal state of communicate decrease deliver good public accountability the stakeholder electrical safety in rate of electrical fatalities value. policies and community about that our priorities and Ontariopractices by accelerating and critical injuries over ensure responsible, activities. the reduction in the rate five years (based on fivetransparent and fair of electrical fatalities behaviour year rolling average.) This

Continually improve ESA’s ability to know what electrical safety events are happening and their underlying causes, and to anticipate and intercept emerging risks.

Apply risk-based approaches using risk assessment analysis to define priorities. The current key electrical safety priority areas are: ¡ Members of the public and construction trades making contact with powerlines; ¡ Electrical workers working live while doing repair and maintenance; ¡ Electrical fires in homes.

COLLABORATE Share our insights and learnings internally and externally. Work with stakeholders and collaborate to address safety risks.

For more detail, see page 15.

12 Electrical Safety Authority

Harm Reduction Strategy 2.0 April 2015 – March 2020

At the heart of the strategy are three goals:



Over the last five years, electrical safety incidents in Ontario have been significantly declining. For example, electrical fatalities have dropped by 35 per cent. But there is still much work to do. We’ve set a goal of a 20 per cent decrease in the combined rate of electrical fatalities and critical injuries by 2020. Achieving this means focusing on areas where safety incidents most often occur: • The public and construction workers making contact with powerlines; • Electrical workers working live during repair and maintenance work; and • Electrical fires in homes.



As the regulator for the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, contractor licensing, distribution safety, and product safety, ESA seeks good compliance to all regulations. Over the next five years, we will tackle another area of particular risk – to increase renovation wiring work captured by ESA’s compliance processes by 7.5 per cent. This will involve raising awareness of Code and licensing requirements, making our compliance processes easier and more accessible, and, of course, enforcement. Industry sources estimate that as much as 50 per cent of residential renovations and 13 per cent of commercial/industrial renovations are currently done in the underground economy.



ESA must be an effective and publicly accountable organization. Each year we will measure stakeholder perceptions of multiple dimensions of accountability, including responsibility, transparency, fairness and quality of service delivery. Based on that feedback, we will set priorities for areas of improvement.

To read the full versions of both ESA’s Strategic Plan and Business Plan, go to

ESA must achieve this higher rate of compliance without creating undue burden on those already in compliance. This means being efficient and using risk-based management.

• News, Views and Updates from ESA


Customer Service Centre Service Update ESA’s call centre has been working hard to improve customer service and address contractor complaints. Eric Kingston, General Manager of ESA‘s Customer Service Centre (CSC), has focused on addressing the call wait time challenge. The key to solving this is to ensure Customer Service Representatives(CSR) can consistently answer calls in a timely fashion. As such, a substantial amount of effort has gone into understanding the issues and implementing a service recovery plan. Significant service improvements have already been made. “We are implementing new processes, adding new staff and improving our systems to greatly improve the levels of service that our customers get from ESA,” Kingston says. “We are committed to reach, and maintain, a service level of 70 per cent of calls answered within 30 seconds by our next busy summer season.”

Three Areas of Focus

The service recovery plan focuses on three areas: Accessibility, Transparency and Reducing Wait Times. Accessibility. In the past, when the CSC queues were full, customers would receive a fast busy signal or no answer. To increase accessibility to the call centre, the number of phone lines into the system has been increased. Callers are no longer being blocked. In addition, staff shifts have been adjusted to address busy times in the day and, during times with exceptionally high volumes, the call centre hours were extended.


Transparency. A new feature provides callers with an estimated wait time and their place in the queue. “We have received very positive feedback from customers on this feature,” says Kingston. “Customers have told us that they appreciate having more information to help them decide whether they want to continue to hold or call back at another time.” Reducing Wait Times. The third goal is reducing overall call wait times. ESA has hired more CSRs. The first wave were trained in March. ESA will also hire additional permanent staff. The new hires completed their training at the end of March. ESA has also made a commitment to hire additional seasonal staff for the peak season. ESA is currently recruiting and interviewing for the second wave of hires and will have this group trained and ready for the busy peak season.

• News, Views and Updates from ESA

“We are committed to reach and maintain a service level of



of calls

answered within 30 seconds by our next busy season.”

“ESA will continue to share updates on initiatives that are underway at the Customer Service Centre and there will now be a regular update in Plugged In,” says Kingston. “We’re confident that all of these efforts will result in an overall better customer service experience for our customers.”

Worth Knowingspeaking technically Ontario Electrical Safety Code Update The updating of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code is very much underway. The planned effective date of the 26th edition is May 2016. ESA continues to work on the Ontario-specific amendments. ESA held a public consultation on proposed amendments to Section 75 of the Code from September – November 2014. Section 75 is the portion of the Code that covers the requirements for overhead primary and secondary powerline installations, poles and polemounted electrical equipment that are not owned by a Local Distribution Company. A second consultation occurred from Feb. 5 to March 23, 2015. This consultation covered all of the remaining proposed Code amendments. Information on both of the consultations can be found on ESA’s website at www.esasafe. com/about-esa/stakeholderengagement/consultations.

Proposed Amendments

Some of the proposed amendments to harmonize with the Ontario Building Amendments for Energy include the removal of the mandatory requirement to install an electric range receptacle for all dwelling units, requirements for LED systems operating at extra-low voltage in residential; clarification on clearances for luminaires installed in close proximity to combustible materials; harmonizing with TSSA’s propane code amendment; and introducing rules for non-commercial marinas.

Next Steps

The responses, comments and suggestions received during the consultations will be reviewed and changes made to the proposed amendments if required. The Ontario Provincial Code Committee (OPCC) votes on all the Ontario amendments. This Council includes representation from industry groups such as electrical contractors, utilities, regulatory authorities, inspectors and general interest groups (consumers). ESA will compile the CSA Canadian Electrical Code and the proposed Ontario Amendments and submit a recommendation to the Ontario Government to adopt the proposed amendments into regulation. Once the recommendation is approved, the updated edition of the Code will be adopted into law.

“The responses, comments and suggestions received during the consultations will be reviewed and changes made to the proposed amendments if required.”

The Summer 2015 issue of Plugged In will contain a more detailed summary of the main changes that will be part of the 26th edition 2015 Code.

If you have any comments or questions about the 2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Code please e-mail them to: OESC2015@ Stay tuned to Plugged In for more updates.

• News, Views and Updates from ESA


Call for Nominations – Now Open! technically speaking 2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Awards The call for nominations for the 2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Awards is now open. Each year, ESA holds the Ontario Electrical Safety Awards to honour outstanding individuals/organizations that have made a significant contribution to increasing electrical safety in the province.


Ontario Electrical Safety Awards

Do you know An Electrical Safety Leader?

This is an opportunity for you or your organization to be recognized for electrical safety accomplishments. Past winners of the awards include Paul Rhynold (RK Electric), Bryan Baeumler, Enersource Hydro, Guelph Hydro, Entertainment Electrical Committee, and PowerStream Inc. If you know of an individual or organization that would be a candidate for an Ontario Electrical Safety Award, please visit about-esa/electrical-safety-awards for more information. The deadline to submit nominations is June 1, 2015.


The safety awards recognize individuals/organizations in three categories:

Award recipients will be honoured at the 2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Awards celebration on Sept. 24, 2015 in Mississauga.


Powerline Safety


Worker Safety


Consumer Safety

What’s Happening Powerline Safety Week May 11 - May 17, 2015

ESA’s 2015 Licensed Electrical Contractor Campaign is running from March 16 to May 19, 2015.

Holiday Closures May 18, 2015 – Victoria Day July 1, 2015 – Canada Day August 3, 2015 – Civic Holiday September 7, 2015 – Labour Day

Check out the insert included in this issue to learn how you can participate in the campaign.

Connect with us: @homeandsafety

For more information, visit

Electrical Safety Authority


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• News, Views and Updates from ESA


Profile for Electrical Safety Authority

Spring 2015 PluggedIn  

PluggedIn is the publication for Licensed Electrical Contractors in Ontario. It is published three times per year.

Spring 2015 PluggedIn  

PluggedIn is the publication for Licensed Electrical Contractors in Ontario. It is published three times per year.