Choosing The Right HVAC Contractor

Why selecting licensed and insured contractors matters.

Equipment installations have some inherent risks which can lead to potential liability. This is why choosing the right contractor is crucial to ensuring the safe installation of your building’s mechanical system. While selecting an uninsured and unlicensed individual to perform the job may save you money upfront, in the long run, it may cost you thousands of dollars and leave you with 100% of the liability. Therefore, it is essential that you hire a contractor who adheres to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Technical Standards and Safety Act.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)

Through enforcement of the Technical Standards and Safety Act and applicable regulation (collectively, the “Act”), the TTSA promotes and enforces health and safety in trades. The TTSA influences training, certification and registration of trades people, sites and contractors. TSSA also regularly inspects and audits contractors, equipment and sites for compliance with the Act, and undertakes regulatory action to resolve issues of non-compliance.

Unlicensed and unregistered technicians, often referred to as ‘Trunk Slammers’, provide work at a discounted price, but at what cost? Trunk Slammers who perform work on furnaces and fuel-burning equipment are not:

  • subject to TSSA audits for compliance with safety requirements;
  • their knowledge, competency and qualifications cannot be validated;
  • they do not receive updates on safety information and training; and
  • there is no assurance that they will comply with safety regulations.

In 2002, the TSSA introduced an Administrative Penalties Program that allows the TSSA to implement immediate fines of up to $5,000 for non-compliance with fuel safety laws1. In addition, there are levied fines for any instance of damage, such as broken gas line, which will result in a fine plus a mandatory 25% victim fine surcharge2. Is the risk worth it?

The Role of a Contractor

There are many factors that can go wrong on a job site, and ultimately any issues that arise become the responsibility of the contractor. A contractor is the “person who carries on, in whole or in part, the business of installing, removing, repairing, altering or servicing appliances, and includes a person or an agent of the person who agrees to install, remove, repair, alter or service appliances sold or leased by the person.”3 If you don’t hire a licensed and insured general contractor to install your equipment, then YOU could be deemed to be the general contractor. If there’s an explosion to your gas line, or a slip and fall resulting in injury, you’re responsible.

Another important role on site is that of the constructor, “a person who undertakes a project for an owner and includes an owner who undertakes all or part of a project by himself or by more than one employer” and holds the greatest degree of control over the health and safety of a project and its workers4.

The site constructor must ensure workers are in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including:

  • notification of a project to the Ministry of Labour, when and as required;
  • notification of an accident or occurrence to the Ministry of Labour, when and as required;
  • ensuring every contractor or subcontractor receives a list of all designated substances present at the project before the prospective contractor or subcontractor enters into a binding contract for the supply of work on the project;
  • ensuring written emergency procedures are established for the project and posted, and
  • appointing a supervisor for every project at which five or more workers will work at the same time.

If you hire a contractor you may inadvertently face liability as a constructor should you contract with more than one employer (contractor) or use your own workers to carry out parts of the project, such as the additional hiring of an electrician or other tradesmen. For violations and accidents involving subcontractors and their employee’s, constructors may face fines up to $500,000 under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act5.

Choose Experience

Make the smart business decision – hire a licensed and insured technician to perform the work. Enercare technicians are:

  • Fully licensed;
  • Have WSIB coverage;
  • Obtain ESA permit on all installations; and
  • TSSA licensed.

By hiring an Enercare technician, you have peace of mind of knowing you’ve made the right choice.

Call 1-855-321-1508 today to schedule a visit with one of our technicians