ESA applauds stiff sentence for illegal electrical work in Milton

A Justice of the Peace sentenced a Brampton man to five days in jail for installing pot lights in two houses on Milton. David John, 46, is not a certified electrician, but advertising connected to his company claimed he was licensed by the Electrical Safety Authority.

Brampton man faces jail time and a fine for illegally installing pot lights

An example of a serious pot light fire hazard. A non-recessed pot light in an attic coming into contact with insulation. Insulation should be kept at least 7.5 cm away from recessed lighting fixtures unless fixtures are marked 'I.C.' (Insulated Ceiling) — designed for direct insulation contact. (JCHI Home Inspection)

Installing pot lights without a licence has landed a Brampton man behind bars and facing a steep fine.

A Justice of the Peace sentenced David John, 46, to five days in jail and a total of $50,000 in fines.

On July 24 in a Burlington court, John was found guilty on two counts of working without an electrical contractor's licence and two counts of failing to apply for an electrical inspection.

John operated under the company names Skookum Developments and Kenchiku Developments Inc.

An ad posted online connected to one of the company names offered indoor and outdoor pot-light installation and specifically stated that: "All work is done by ESA approved electrical contractors.

"This individual was not a licensed electrical contractor ... and innocently homeowners hired him and put in pot lights which were never inspected by us," said Scott Saint, the chief public safety officer with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).

Saint said the charges related to the installation of interior and exterior pot lights done in two homes in Milton, but there could be as many as eight suspicious electrical installations in total. 

Courts sending strong message

"The courts had to deliver a clear and strong message that if you break the law and put public safety at risk there will be ... serious consequences," said Saint, adding that only people with an electrical contractor's licence who are in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, can do electrical work in this province.

"Fire is a real risk from overheating of pot lights. You put the wrong ones in and they come into contact with combustible material in your ceiling and you definitely have a risk of fire," he said.

Saint asks anyone who suspects someone of doing electrical work illegally to contact the ESA.

He says putting public safety at risk will not be tolerated. 

Scott Saint, Chief Public Safety Officer with the Electrical Safety Authority, urges anyone who may had work done by David John to contact them. Jones operated under the company names Skookum Developments and Kenchiku Developments Inc.

"We are guardians of public electrical safety in Ontario and we take this very seriously and we will do what we can to stop this," Saint added.

And he has a caution for those weekend DIY-ers who may wander into their local Home Depot looking to fix their lighting problems.

"We always recommend that if you don't know what you are doing it's best to hire a licensed electrician. There are over 8,000 of them in Ontario," Saint said.

Click here to find a licensed electrician near you

 When hiring someone to do work, homeowners and businesses are reminded to:

• Ask if the contractor holds all required qualifications and licences — including an ECRA/ESA licence for electrical work.

• Confirm the contractor has secured all appropriate permits and inspections.
 
• Ask for a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection from the contractor once the work is complete. 

The ESA certificate confirms the work was done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code; it is important for resale and insurance purposes, as well as peace of mind.

Saint says anyone concerned about electrical work done in their home can confidentially contact the ESA's Customer Service Centre  at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).