Do Electricians Need A License In Calgary?

Are you planning to hire someone to work on your home’s electrical system? If so, you may be wondering whether residential electricians or commercial electricians need a license in Calgary. Or maybe you’d like to try your hand at a little electrical DIY.

In answer to your question, electricians definitely do need a license in Calgary. Licensing is proof that the electrician you hire is trained, experienced, and trustworthy. And the reason for that is to protect YOU.

Can Anyone Get An Electrical Permit In Calgary?

No, not just anyone can get an electrical permit in Calgary. Unless you, as the homeowner, will be doing the electrical work yourself (we’ll go into reasons why this is unwise in the sections below), electrical permits must be obtained by a certified electrical contractor, who has the following qualifications:

  • An Alberta Master Electrician Certificate
  • A City of Calgary business license
  • Be recognized as a City Qualified Tradesperson

A permit will be required if you are having any new electrical circuits installed. The only exclusion is when you plan to replace “like with like” – for example, installation of a new light fixture in place of an existing one.

What Is An Alberta Master Electrician Certificate?

This certification is administered by the provincial Safety Codes Council. To be certified as an Alberta Master Electrician, the person in question must meet specific rigorous requirements. He or she must:

  • Hold a Journeyperson Electrician certificate as per the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act
  • Have worked 3 out of the past 5 years as a Journeyperson Electrician
  • Have passed the Safety Codes Council’s Master Electrician exam and earned a specified minimum grade

Possession of the Master Electrician Certificate shows the holder has a thorough knowledge of the regulations and codes that apply to electrical work in Alberta. If you would like proof that a particular contractor is certified as a Master Electrician, you can ask them for their pocket certificate, which is issued by the Government of Alberta Advanced Education.

Benefits of Hiring A Licensed Electrician

Despite the current fad for do-it-yourself home renovation, experimenting with major DIY electrical projects (or hiring your handy jack-of-all-trades neighbour from down the block) is a really bad idea. Unless someone has substantial experience and training (serves as a licensed electrician), working with electricity can have truly devastating consequences, such as fatal electrocution or an electrical fire in your home.

By contrast, here’s what a Master Electrician brings to the table:

Proper Training/Education

By the time your electrician has risen to the Master level, they have completed intensive training in how to install, upgrade, repair, and maintain electrical systems, as well as studied the provisions of the Canadian Electrical Code and the Alberta Safety Codes. They’ve also successfully passed a demanding two-part exam. Unfortunately, watching a quick “how-to” video on YouTube just can’t compare.

Vast Experience

In addition to specialized training, a certified Master Electrician has years of practical on-the-job experience under their belt, first as an Apprentice and later as a Journeyperson. As a result, they have dealt hands-on with a wide range of electrical problems, new installations, and upgrades.

Certified By The Province

As a follow-up to the permitting process, you will need to have the electrical work officially checked by a trained, certified Alberta Safety Codes inspector to ensure that everything complies with safety standards. For a major project, often at least two inspections are required – rough-in and final. If the work turns out to be sub-par, it’s ultimately your responsibility as the homeowner.

This is a sound reason why hiring a licensed electrician, certified by the province, protects you and your home.

Common Electrical Mistakes

Still not convinced about the serious hazards of non-licensed electrical work? Take a minute or two to read through this list. It describes just a few of the dangerous electrical mistakes commonly made by electrician wannabes.

No GFCI Installed

When an electrical outlet is to be located near the ground and/or a source of water such as a sink, a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet must be used. This requirement of the Canadian Electrical Code applies to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, outdoor outlets, and more.

The reason? To safeguard against a powerful electric shock hazard. Your licensed electrician knows when and where GFCIs are required, and how to install them correctly. Are you sure that you do?

Wires Too Short

Cutting wires too short is a common amateur error. Electrical wires should be long enough that 3 to 6 inches extend from the junction box. Cutting them too short is unsafe and will compromise the security of your electrical connections.

Improper Grounding/Bonding

Grounding connects your system to the earth, so that electrical surges due to malfunction will be channelled safely out of your home. Bonding connects two conductive parts. If these steps are not performed properly, you will have an electrical hazard on your hands.

Count On Sun Electrical For Licensed Electricians

When you turn to Sun Electrical, you can be sure that you are hiring qualified, licensed electricians. Rely on us for electrical installation and repairs that are professional, efficient, and fully code-compliant.