Ontario Electrical Safety Code

The Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC), or, Ontario Regulation 169/99, is the electrical safety regulation for the Province of Ontario. This code protects electrical workers and the general public by regulating electrical equipment installations and by placing a certain level of standards that help prevent electrical accidents caused from electric shock and fire hazards. For example, the OESC outlines specific electrical safety requirements for wiring and equipment in structures and buildings in Ontario. If wiring isn’t done correctly or electrical workers don’t take the proper precautions when the installation is taking place, then electrical accidents can occur. The Ontario Electrical Safety Code is referenced by the Canadian Electrical Code that contains specific amendments made by the Province of Ontario. Continual updates of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code are also done in conjunction with the Canadian Electrical Code.

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Every three years, there are amendments made to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. Electrical safety requirements changed recently for hazardous locations practices, grounding and bonding practices, installations of electrical equipment, among others.

The Ontario Electrical Safety Code regulation (O. Reg. 164/99) exists under the Electricity Act, 1998, and provides for the adoption of the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) together with Ontario specific amendments to the CEC as the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC). The CEC is amended every three years, which requires the OESC to also be updated. When approved, the Electrical Safety Code regulation is amended to adopt the updated OESC.

Ontario adopts the CEC as one part of the OESC. All Canadian provinces adopt the CEC as the basis for their provincial electrical safety codes, which may include province specific amendments.

The other part of the OESC is the Ontario specific amendments to the CEC, which consist of a series of Ontario-specific technical and administrative rules. The OESC sets the minimum safety standards for safe electrical installations, products and equipment in Ontario. Regular updates to the CEC and the OESC are necessary to ensure they reflect changes in technologies and respond to electrical incident trends.

Ontario Electrical Safety Code – Who is responsible for the OESC?
The Ministry of Consumer Services, a department within the Provincial Government of Ontario, is responsible for the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. However, the Ministry of Consumer Services has empowered the Electrical Safety Authority, a private organization separate from the government, to enforce the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is a delegated administrative authority responsible for administering Part VIII of the Electricity Act, 1998, and its regulations on behalf of the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and the government. It is responsible for administering the OESC and for day-to-day operations such as safety inspections of electrical installations.

Electrical Safe Code Ontario – Where can I get a copy of the OESC handbook?
The Ontario Electrical Safety Code is published by the Electrical Safety Authority that’s available for purchase on www.esasafe.com.

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