Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Operator of Voltcom Electrical Services headed to jail, while owner of Voltcom Inc., a legit firm, ponders his options

Canadian Contractor Commercial Coverage

A tale of two electrical contractors operating firms called Voltcom: One of them operated by an illegal contractor headed to jail, the other one the bread-and-butter of an upstanding, fully-licensed, hardworking journeyman electrician.

Greg Barwinski, an incorporated electrical contractor in Burlington, ON, is the proud owner of a legitimate, fully-licensed and insured firm, Voltcom Inc., that he founded in 2010. Now he’s facing a battle to protect his company’s brand name, since an underground electrical contractor, using a similar name, Voltcom Electrical Services, also operating in Burlington, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined almost $16,000 for doing illegal, unlicensed and unsafe electrical work. That news story is all over the internet, thanks to extensive media coverage.

A journeyman electrician, affiliated with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) for about five years, Barwinski’s Voltcom Inc. has been working diligently in recent years in the Burlington, ON area on both commercial and residential jobs, receiving positive reviews online and by word of mouth. Barwinski has been a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Trades ever since the organization got up and running last spring.

But how quickly a brand name can become tarnished. If you Google  “Voltcomyou will see that the operator of Voltcom Electrical Services,” Richard D. Hazel, was sentenced on Oct. 2nd to 30 days in jail, and fined almost $16,000 by a Hamilton judge, for working illegally, without an electrical license and without inspections, leaving “unsafe conditions” at four Hamilton houses last year. And it’s a second offence for Mr. Hazel. In 2012 he was fined $23,750 for similar illegal electrical work in the Windsor, ON area. On that occasion, Hazel’s company was called, simply, Voltcom Electric.

Hazel is the first person to be sent to jail for an offence like this in Ontario, according to the ESA.


Barwinski, meanwhile, says that having the Voltcom Electrical Services case go viral has been tough for him. “Everything’s pointing towards us” (when people want more information on ‘Voltcom’), he says. “It went viral online, everyone has picked it up.”

“My company has received positive reviews online. I’ve never misrepresented myself, never put anyone’s life in danger. We’re with the ESA, we’re lawful and insured. It just goes to show, the underground economy, it really is a question of the buyer beware.”

Barwinksi did see the “other” Voltcom name on the ESA’s website when Hazel was convicted two years ago. “I thought it was done,” he said. “But this time the story went viral.”

Has Barwinski thought of changing his company’s name?

“I’ve worked hard for the past five years to establish this company,” he said. “At this point I want to hang onto it (the name). Although I know this news story will always show up online in the future. We’ll see.”





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1 Comment » for Operator of Voltcom Electrical Services headed to jail, while owner of Voltcom Inc., a legit firm, ponders his options
  1. Joe says:

    Trades photo ID will eliminated all this kind of a fraudulent companies.
    Close the ESA electrical inspectors, make a service registry full license as was before under the ministry of trades, college and universities.

    That could work international to. Work sheets projects responsibilities, to be kept as a record, protected the trade by an insurance work protection. This can be simple and will work for all compulsory and none compulsory trades, no more collection soup agencies.

    Its a shame this Ontario has became, our politicians are apparently all crooks, no one to trust any longer, so we all should demand.

    Close the OCOT, Ontario collector Overt Tax. Send these criminals to jail plus a few crook politicians to, who set up this so called college of bullshit.

    A full electrician should be able to be responsible for his/ she work, needs no one to inspect, he / she can only inspect apprentice work, as long is their own employee, and sign for their trades hours. after all, inspectors are mere license electricians. And most of them are unable to do their own house electrical wires. Its like a step down, to a stupid degree. Some esa electrical inspectors deserve the boat on their ass, gone out the door, to the first year of apprenticeship, start allover again. To many assholes collecting money on those are working hard.

    Who wants to fix this trades problem? , lets start demanding politicians out the door, OCOT crooks, don’t pay them all trades people all at once, demanding them to close their doors, also the esa,. Lets overload their computers with emails, texting etc, to the queens crooks parking, the same thing, phone calls, emails testing them until all their phones, computers shut down overloaded. We trades people can demand, they can not tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. We are paying these crooks they must do what is right in the public interest, not the fear mongering they use public protection the false flag operations to collect tax on us, its absurd what is going on here in Ontario.

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