Homeowners hire unqualified contractors for dangerous work

    Study reveals unlicensed workers cost homeowners unnecessary time and

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Almost half of Ontario homeowners allow an unqualified person or contractor to perform dangerous electrical work in their homes despite a law making it illegal to do so.

According to a recent Leger Marketing survey, 45 per cent of Ontario homeowners do not find it necessary to check the credentials of contractors before hiring them to perform electrical work, such as rewiring a fuse or breaker panel or adding new electrical receptacles or switches. In addition, more than 70 per cent of homeowners would allow a neighbour, friend or handyman to install a new light fixture for them, while 47 per cent would permit them to repair an electrical outlet and 43 per cent would let them wire an outdoor light timer - all of which are considered dangerous if not performed properly.

The data comes more than two years after the Ontario government passed a law requiring all contracted electrical work to be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC). The law came into force in January 2007 in response to the increasing number of electrical incidents involving property damage, injury and death.

"We are concerned that Ontario homeowners continue to put the safety and lives of their loved ones at risk by not ensuring that the contractor they hire to do electrical work is qualified to do so," says Lucy Impera, Registrar-Licensing & Certification of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), the governing body that administers and enforces these licensing laws.

Homeowners' impulse for hiring unlicensed contractors has cost them a significant amount of time and money. More than one-third of homeowners have had negative renovation experiences while an equal number have had to pay to fix improper electrical work.

"We understand today's homeowners are looking to save money, but hiring an unlicensed person will inevitably lead to more costs down the road," says Impera. "It's better to hire someone who is licensed and insured to protect the safety of your family and property, right from the start."

In the last ten years, 106 Ontarians have died as a result of electrocution. In addition, there have been 33,739 electrical fires reported by the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Homeowners looking for additional information on electrical safety requirements or for a list of LECs in their area can visit www.pluginsafely.ca.

SOURCE Electrical Safety Authority

For further information: For further information: Sonia Prashar, APEX Public Relations, T: (416) 924-4442 ext. 223, E: sprashar@apexpr.com

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