Ontario hands Richard Hazel first-ever jail sentence for illegal electrical work
By Alyssa Dalton
October 7, 2014 – Last Thursday, Richard Hazel was sentenced in a Hamilton, Ont., court to 30 days in jail and fined $6250 on charges related to performing electrical work illegally and violating several Ontario College of Trades’ requirements. This is the first time a jail sentence has been handed down by an Ontario court for this type of offence.
He was also placed on two years probation.
Hazel, operating as Voltcom Electrical Services, was found guilty on eight charges: four counts of working without an electrical contractor’s licence, 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.
In addition to the Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) charges, he pled guilty to five related charges laid by the Ontario College of Trades and was fined an additional $7400 plus one year probation for those offences.
In October 2013, an ESA inspector identified a renovation in a Hamilton home had been done without a permit and determined upon further investigation that Hazel had completed the work. Numerous electrical hazards were found, noted ESA. The investigation also found that he falsely produced an Ontario College of Trade’s certificate of qualification in order to gain employment with two licensed electrical contractors.
Hazel was previously convicted in 2012 on 19 counts of violating electrical safety regulations at seven sites in the Windsor area resulting in a $23,750 fine.
“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 Normand Breton, ESA 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.”
ESA is reminding consumers to follow The 3 Cs:
• check to ensure the contractor holds a valid ECRA/ESA electrical contractor licence (you can search the database at www.esasafe.com)
• confirm that they are arranging the appropriate inspections from ESA
• call ESA at (877) 372-7233 when you suspect someone is misrepresenting themselves.