June 2021

· 5 min read

Electrical Certification in the U.S. and Canada

Safety first. The major electrical codes in the United States and Canada — respectively, the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) — require certification by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and/or an accredited certification body (CB) for use and sale.
Canada and US Flag - Overview of Electrical Certification in the U.S. and Canada | NSF International

Why It’s Important to Work With an Accredited Laboratory/Certification Body

U.S. Certification

In the U.S., a NRTL is an independent third-party organization accredited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to evaluate, test and certify certain products to ensure that they meet OSHA’s electrical standards. This helps protect product users from dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. A NRTL provides:

  • Product testing
  • Field evaluation (on-site certification when necessary)
  • Assessment of production site
  • Product listing
  • Follow-up inspections

OSHA recognizes 17 organizations in the U.S. and Canada as NRTLs, each for testing and certifying to a particular scope of test standards. The test standards are product-specific to verify the safety of equipment when used and operated correctly. The NEC is the U.S. benchmark for safe electrical design, installation and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards. It has been adopted by all 50 states and is revised every three years to incorporate new and updated technology and improved safety and work practices.

Canadian Certification

In Canada, the Canadian Electrical Code requires that manufacturers of electrical products get certification through an accredited certification body — equivalent to a NRTL. The certification verifies that products comply with the requirements of the applicable product standard(s).

The Accreditation Services branch of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) accredits CBs, such as testing laboratories and product certification bodies, to determine whether a product, service or system meets the requirements of a particular standard. This includes standards referenced in the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). The CEC is a set of building, installation and maintenance requirements published by the Canadian Standards Association and updated every three years.

NSF International is accredited as both a NRTL in the U.S. and as a CB in Canada.

The Certification Mark: Assurance That a Product Meets Relevant Safety Standards

When the NRTL or CB has tested and certified that a product meets the relevant safety standard, the certifying organization issues a certificate detailing the scope of the test standard. In addition, every product that has been certified by a NRTL or CB must bear that organization’s mark. This is the buyer’s or consumer’s assurance that the product is certified by an independent third party and meets the specific requirements of one or more appropriate product safety test standards.

When you see a certification mark from any of these organizations, you can trust the product meets stringent requirements and has been tested by an accredited, competent and objective third party.

Examples of Products That Require Electrical Certification

Note: This is not an exhaustive list.

In the U.S.:

  • Commercial dishwashers
  • Commercial ovens
  • Commercial refrigerators and freezers
  • Commercial steam cookers
  • Drinking water systems
  • Food-holding cabinets
  • Hot food-holding cabinets
  • Ice machines
  • Pool products
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Vending machines
  • Wastewater treatment products
  • Water coolers

In Canada:

  • Commercial cooking appliances
  • Electric plumbing appliances
  • Electric spas and associated equipment
  • Household cooking and liquid heating appliances
  • Hydromassage bathtubs and bathtub appliances
  • Motor-operated appliances
  • Motor-operated commercial food-preparing machines
  • Plumbing fittings incorporating electrical
  • Pumps
  • Refrigeration equipment
  • Spas, pools and hot tubs

Give Buyers and Consumers the Assurance of the NSF Mark

If you want to sell your product in both the U.S. and Canada, you can save time and money by having us evaluate your product for conformity with standards in both countries. When your buyers see the NSF certification mark, they can trust the product has been tested by an accredited, objective third party and that it meets the stringent requirements of OSHA and the SCC.