Access to Electrical Panel in Ontario by HVAC Contractors

The HVAC industry succeeded last fall in getting a clarification from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) on the matter of accessing the electrical panel. Director of Apprenticeship Rob Easto concluded that refrigeration mechanics (and residential AC mechanics) are trained sufficiently to do limited work in the electrical panel (in residences only) in a safe and competent manner.

This interpretation was challenged late in 2006 by the electrical contracting sector, which has alleged that HVAC contractors are not properly qualified to do this work and that it should only be done by licensed electricians. The outcome of this issue will have an impact on the requirement imposed by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) for any contractor who applies for electrical permits (including HVAC contractors) to be registered under their new Electrical Contractor Registry Authority (ECRA). Registration with ECRA currently requires that contractors employ a Master Electrician. If the MTCU decision stands, this requirement for an electrician will be removed for HVAC contractors. The ESA agreed to extend the registration deadline (originally January 1, 2007) indefinitely, pending a decision from the MTCU. HVAC contractors are still awaiting a final decision.

In March, electrical contractors (led by the Ontario Electrical League) initiated an aggressive letter-writing campaign, urging member contractors to write to their MPPs with the message that public safety will be threatened if HVAC contractors are permitted to do this work.

Meanwhile, ESA has reaffirmed that their approach to the HVAC sector will continue to be “business as usual” until a decision from the MTCU is received. According to Peter Marcucci (ESA Vice President, Regulatory Affairs):

“Until this decision is made and implemented, ESA will continue its current practices associated with the issuance of permits to HVAC contractors. Once a decision has been made with respect to the licensing requirements for HVAC contractors we will provide the appropriate direction and allow time to make any needed transition.”

Nalliah Thayabharan
Expert Building Inspections Ltd
Markham ON

Interesting information… Roy Cooke

Sounds like the electrical contractors took a page out of the CAHPI book
But they made it mandatory!

oh well…:wink:

…and inspectors are not modifying or installing they are only removing cover plates and visually examining. Got to love Unions eh!

This had nothing to do with the Electrical union .
This is an ESA decision .
If this gets in forced it sure could remove a lot of liability of the Ontario Home Inspectors .
In Court Why did you not identify the Aluminum wire ,
Sorry sir the law states I am not allowed to remove any covers . End of story .
This is now going to be harder for insurance companies to charge more or refuse to give insurance to homes with aluminum wire .
When they ask does the home have Aluminum wire sorry sir no way to confirm if the home has aluminum or does not have aluminum.
I also do no think AC installers should be doing electric wiring . I have found two where they have run two feeds of #14 as they did not have any # ten wire .
I have found many where they have just tied the AC feed into the Mains .
This gives protection to the AC feed of 100 or 200 amps depending on size of service.
The law also says a home owner can do work on his own home if he gets a permit first ,Yea like this is going to happen .
The law also says all new water heater tank instillations require a balancing valve .
Have not seen one yet on a replacement tank instillation .
Roy Cooke

Roy Cooke

Okay Electrical League which is a body which represent electrical workers. :wink:

No it is not ,the electrical league represents Electrical contractors.

(IBEW)… International brotherhood of Electrical Workers represent the Electricians .
I am a retired Member in good standing of the IBEW .

In most cases they are on exact opposite sides of each other.
There are many electricians who do not belong to the Union .
There are many contractors who do not use Union labour.

Roy Cooke

I did an inspection yesterday and found 5 double taps. 2 breakers had 14/3 connected and the other three had 14/2.
Who are these guyes protecting when this kind of stuff is forbidden to be found during the home inspection.
We all work to protect our terf. It’s the dump assed government that makes this garbage law that is the problem.

Exactly and they are trying to do it to the Canadian Home Inspection Industry also .
Roy Cooke

MTCU Director of Apprenticeship, Rob Easto, announced that he will not adjust the interpretation he provided in October. In making this decision, Easto cited a number of factors which guided the Ministry’s decision:

*"First, and perhaps foremost, the Ministry is satisfied that O. Reg. 75/05 (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic) provides for mechanics to perform specific electrical work. I refer to section 3 of that regulation – scope of trade. The Ministry’s interpretation sets out the electrical work involved in refrigeration unit installation and start up and establishes limits with regards to who can perform this work. Mechanics are not permitted to perform electrical work beyond the conditions set out in the interpretation. Specifically, the residential mechanic is permitted to perform electrical work (connect to the panel) where there is existing capacity but is not permitted to modify an existing panel."

“The Ministry is satisfied that this work is being performed safely by qualified mechanics. The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic (commercial and residential) training and curriculum standards already include substantive electrical training. Given the concerns raised by the Electrician PAC, the Ministry will undertake to work with industry to review all training material and make changes as necessary to ensure there is no ambiguity with regards to training to perform this specific work.”
This decision will not eliminate the requirement for HVAC contractors to register with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) under their new Electrical Contractor Registry Authority (ECRA). However, it will have an impact on the requirement imposed by ESA that contractors who register must employ a Master Electrician. The MTCU decision means this requirement for an electrician will be removed for HVAC contractors, provided they work within the limits described in the MTCU decision.
Immediately after the MTCU decision was issued, ESA stated the following: *“We have not yet had a chance to determine how we will operationalize this decision from a contractor licencing perspective. So, until such time as we do, the same direction previously provided… will apply.” *
The previous direction from ESA was that HVAC contractors could continue to pull electrical permits and schedule inspections without registering under ECRA until further notice.
HVAC contractors are now working with ESA to ensure that the registration procedure for HVAC contractors will be workable and will reflect the Ministry’s decision.
Nalliah Thayabharan
Markham ON


**The law also says all new water heater tank instillations require a balancing valve **

Do you mean a temperature control or “mixing” valve to add cold water to the hot to prevent scalding?