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Unlicensed electrical contractor, nailed by both ESA and Ontario College of Trades, sentenced to 30 days in jail

Richard D. Hazel faces 30 days in jail and total fines of $15,485 for doing electrical work, deemed unsafe, on four Hamilton, ON houses without an electrical license, without inspections - and having shown a fake C of Q to obtain the work. He had been convicted on similar charges in Windsor, ON in 2012.


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October 8, 2014 by Steve Payne

An unlicensed electrical contractor in the Hamilton, ON area has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined a total of $15,485 for doing illegal electrical work following investigations by both the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).

Richard D. Hazel, who operated under the name Voltcom Electrical Services (NOT the same firm as the well-established, fully-licensed, OCOT- and ESA-member firm Voltcom Inc., Burlington, ON,) was sentenced Oct. 2 at the Hamilton Courthouse to 30 days in jail and fined $6,250 – in addition to receiving two year’s probation – on various charges stemming from the ESA investigation.

The ESA said in a press release that this is the first time that an Ontario court has sent someone to jail for this type of offence.

Hazel was found guilty on eight charges: four counts of working without an electrical contractor’s license, one count of failing to obtain the required inspections, two counts of producing a false Certificate of Qualification, and one count of leaving behind unsafe electrical conditions at four homes in Hamilton and Burlington. Hazel was previously convicted in 2012 on 19 counts of violating electrical safety regulations at seven sites in the Windsor area, resulting in a total fine of $23, 750.

In addition to the ESA charges, Hazel pled guilty to five related charges laid by the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), and was fined an additional $7,400, plus $1,835 in victim surcharges, plus one year probation for those particular violations of the Ontario College of Trades and Apprentices Act (“engaging in practice, use of title, without a valid Certificate of Qualification, and falsely representing himself as having a certificate”).

The ESA first blew the whistle on Hazel’s Hamilton-area violations of the law in October 2013, after one of its inspectors learned that he had been involved in the permit-less renovation of a Hamilton home, remembering Hazel from its Windsor enforcement activities.

“The court has delivered a strong, clear message with this conviction and sentence that repeated, unlawful behaviour that puts public safety at risk has serious consequences. Despite previous convictions, this individual continued to flout the law,” said the ESA’s Normand Breton, General Manager, Registrar and Director, Contractor Licensing and Powerline Safety. “We are very pleased to see that the court has taken this next important step which we hope will deter others in the underground economy who are working outside the law.”

Bob Onyschuk, Director of Compliance and Enforcement for the Ontario College of Trades, said: “This is a great example of how working together with our partners, we can protect the public from uncertified and unlicensed workers.”

 

 

 


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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27 Comments » for Unlicensed electrical contractor, nailed by both ESA and Ontario College of Trades, sentenced to 30 days in jail
  1. Rob Sloan says:

    Just in case anyone out there thinks this is excessive, we have a staff of 10 and mostly do residential renovation. This year our permit fees will exceed $50,000.00. My guess is that next time this guy will get caught in another province and his already lengthy criminal record will not apply as it would here in Ontario.

    • Bob2 says:

      Fair enough on the fine but now he’s going to jail, one day of that is more then enough for most.

    • Permit Poor says:

      I fully support the idea of a Safety Inspection process but feel that the permit fees have exceeded the threshold. They equate to roughly 12% of most quoted jobs. If I consider what I pay in permit fees per year it would cover the salary of one inspector. Where is all the money going. I didn’t realize that when I went into business there would be 4 partners. One that takes all the risk (me) and three that get a free ride (bank, government, and ESA). Even leaches know when to got off of a sick and over burden host. I can hardly wait to pack it in and retire. Then my three partners can get stuffed. One thumb down Richard Hazel for cheating the system and two thumbs down for my three partners for creating the conditions that promote such activity. 30 days in jail with free room and board, and a fine that is less than he would have paid in taxes and permits. Way to go… beat him with a soft noodle.

  2. Terry says:

    Jail time??? A criminal???
    That opens some new doors, just think how they might expand on that !
    Communist ontario here we come !
    I wonder if it will apply to all !

  3. nigel says:

    This isn’t his first job guaranteed. This is theft ,he should be put in jail longer,so he doesn’t steal anymore hard working people’s money .Whom expect it to be done right the first time.

  4. Questo says:

    This guy may have cheat the system here in Ontario, now he got caught and facing jail term, that’s bad.

    Now how many politicians from the Liberals here in Ontario facing any source of criminal charges on the waste of a billion dollars on the gas plant scandal?

    Apparently the small guy will be the bait for the money collection agencies.

  5. chris says:

    You think that jail is too much? Just think if you were on the other end of one of his or even other jobs and get yourself or your kids electrocuted. The same goes with plumbing. Why would someone get some shmoe to touch your potable water without the proper training and experience? I can go on and on. We in Ontario have these organizations to help protect the public. On the college of trades website, on the front page you can look up anyone in the trades names to see if they’re legit. I suggest people start using this service.

  6. Terry says:

    Questo That is my point exactly ! Should he have done the work , NO , there is alot that he should not have done, the ESA fine I can understand , the ocot is another story we are all aware of . but jail ! If he had the money and a political lawyer he would get off and sue the tax payers for millions and win.

  7. Sandy says:

    This guy obviously didn’t learn the first time so the jail sentence is a strong message to him and all others to follow the rules.
    There are too many contractors out there that feel they know it all and have no regard for getting proper licenses, permits or paying their fair share of taxes.
    Is jail time the answer? Not on the first offence, but if you continue to break the law you have to make some examples.
    There needs to be stronger penalties to fight the underground economy as well.

  8. Questo says:

    I agree with you Terry, he shouldn’t have done a lot of his workings without a license. But now all the vultures go after him.

    This happen when contractors charge very low price, becomes attractive for some costumers, can’t afford pay some work which they have no licence for.
    Now how much electrical work have he done? a few 120 outlets, maybe, isn’t disclosed.

    what about when electrical inspectors, got paid to inspect a work site, forgot to show up and to cover their ass’s called hydro to reconnected.
    isn’t this unsafe and dangers under their electrical code?

    The liberal domino effect is taking place, are politicians license to screw things up? Attractive job, no license required, and got away when things go wrong.

    In my view, all inspections should belong to the local cities, because is under the building code, ESA was design to control imports and exports approval under the electrical code. They form the other agency called ecra, now the OCOT, how many more collection agencies should collect on the the trades people?

    The fact this guy goes to jail wouldn’t solve anything, our Ontario system is corrupted. He may get a legal aid lawyer, and we all the tax payers will pay for his bill, and jail time. Jail time is to excessive together with his fines, maybe his contract was only a few hundred dollars.

  9. Fred J. says:

    Considering what could have happened if his work continued to go unchecked, his fines and jail time are very adequate. This is the 2nd time he’s gotten caught at it. The 1st time was in Windsor, Ont. What about all the electricians & other trades people that do follow the rules & pay their dues? Why should they have their reputations & good works tarnished because of a jerk like this? All these gov’t. rules & regulations were created for a reason. They weren’t designed as extra revenue streams, especially since everybody knows it takes money to make money – even for gov’ts. If you don’t like the rules, protest for change. It’s your right. If the gov’t. doesn’t listen, put down your tool belts. You watch how fast they’ll listen then, when the economy comes to a grinding halt.

  10. terry says:

    He who is free of sin , let him cast the first stone.
    I have seen alot of DANGEROUS work done by licensed professionals, should they get jail time or does the license make them exempt ?

    • dave says:

      Terry
      I would say exempt . A licensed electrician in our area was caught no permits and a lot of other improper connections (Like mar connectors on standard wire in underground application wrapped in electrical tape ) He was taken off the no inspect list. he could still operate as normal. this all before ocot came into effect.
      Esa says licensed electricians don’t do bad work their trained professionals.
      How could they?

  11. terry says:

    All I am saying is Im sure all of has done things in the past , ( work related or not ) that we regret , thats how we learn. Thank God that some of these humanitarians on here didnt get the job of judging me. I wonder if they would judge themselves with the same iron fist ! The other side of the coin is the ESA , the OCOT and the media have a real problem with stretching the truth, to the point of being DANGEROUS propeganda.

  12. Mark Mitchell says:

    Show me an unlicenced contractor. and I will show you 10,000 homeowners that want the cheapest job possible. Its the DIY mindset, cheaper is better.

  13. dave says:

    Mark is it that cheaper is better or is cheaper more affordable. You have garages charging 100.00 plus per hour plumbers and electricians charging 85..00 and up per hour . but the home owner is making minimum wage or slightly over.
    You have a trade work for you who works for a few hours and in return the owner has to work for several days to pay for a job that maybe they could have done their self, and saved Maybe the govt. should concentrate on fixing trades that are already corrupt with overcharging, poor quality workmanship and replacing parts that aren’t broken.

    All this will do is make more licensed cowboys legal , and hourly rates that make the underground trades look even better

    • Mike Lopes says:

      Dave

      Experience and training cost money. We certified trades people have completed an apprenticeship in our respective trades. Does this not justify our charge out rates? Regardless of how much the person paying us makes. Should not reflect our charge out rates

      KEEP CALM AND CONSTRUCT ON

      Cheers

      • dave says:

        Mike
        Are you presuming because i didn’t go to school ,and get a c of q that i would not be worth the same money . but if i go and write the test and get certified then I would be then worthy of the big bucks. Then i can pay the OCOT and be an equal to those who went to school.Remember i have the experience , working for years for many other carpenters,cabinet makers ,trim etc. Not saying that school doesn’t help , but that is the only difference in this whole thing. as far as experience we have been at that for years . And training hey we worked for carpenters for years before going into business .

        As far as the rates, what the customer pays is the end result. Why bitch about the price of gas or food etc. Im sure those people deserve to make the big bucks to. But at what point will people not be able to afford the luxury of a new roof or have their car fixed. I don’t think most of you guys realize that not every one is wealthy or have a really good paying job.

  14. Al says:

    OCOT, ESA fees just might be the reason for the black market.
    Ontario’s trades people spend only 12 month in school, training.
    Many are clueless installers, with little understanding.
    If OCOT and ESA would be serious about safety, they would retest their “certified” trades people.
    Then you would hear some screaming.
    I suspect that OCOT and ESA stand for protectionism and not for safety and knowledge.
    Also, let’s not forget CSA.
    There are too many people with a hand in your pocket.

  15. dave says:

    You only need 70 -75 % to get your licence . What part of the 25 – 30 % don’t you know.I guess nobody cars if that is a f### up . as long as you pay the fees.

  16. Big T. says:

    I’ve read about this on Facebook; Twitter; Contractors and Electrical magazines including all ESA correspondence and so on….. Too bad ESA doesn’t dedicate more time answering the damn phone when you call to file for a permit. It’s been five years of the same bs about how ESA is working so hard on reducing wait times and just today I was on hold again for 27 minutes before I could file for a permit. As far as the outdated inefficient idiotic non functional online process….I guess I’ve said it all! Answer the phone when someone calls to apply a permit. Authority is the responsibility for Electrical Safety!

  17. dave says:

    Does anyone have the exact list of unsafe electrical issues each job was left with. Or is it just the fact that he didn’t get permits for his work. And when did ESA allow wires to be pulled tight against hot air ducts, or pulled down through the floor and go up the side of the floor joist for 8 to 10 ft. before being clipped.

    • Steve Payne says:

      Hi Dave: At the time we published the story, I asked the ESA’s public relations office for the list of unsafe electrical issues. I was told this was not available. I really question WHY this list is not available, and the cynic in me wonders if the actual wiring issues were minor – the real issue was the lack of a license and the need to publicize that unlicensed electrical work equals, de facto, unsafe wiring. Maybe I’m too cynical. But why not have that information available for the public?

  18. dave says:

    hi steve
    my thoughts exactly it was all about charging someone , justifying a job .
    had he been able to just get a permit and have it inspected like we could a few years ago. when ESA wasn’t so (lazy ) over worked there would not have been a problem. I would also like to know how it was ok for a ontario hydro employee to inspect your house . When ESA was not able so how was he qualified in the first place?

  19. Derek says:

    Training is very important and certification essential. One untrained and uncertified colleague wired all three phases of a 600VAC Motor to the same busbar. Fortunately someone was sensible enough to check his wiring before the motor disconnect was turned on. Unlicensed and uncertified individuals get contracts and get away with too many things by calling themselves electricians or engineers. I prefer to pay the fees and work as a certified & licensed individual with safety and professionalism in mind.

  20. Mike says:

    Just another horror story in electrical safety if this guy burned the house down and someone died what would have happened then I work for a company that does reno work they use general contractors to do the work and I have seen some hidden horrors in the walls hidden by nice drywall and tile work and the worse part is they charge thru the nose lying thru their teeth about the job being done and mostly going after seniors who dont know their rights when I questioned it was told not my business however I am the one bringing materials to the jobs and we r talking a few hundred renos am just waiting for something bad to happen and watch said company squirm their way out of it and the worse part the company rakes record profits and the contractor is told u dont do it we will get someone cheaper who will.