Electricity and Electrical Appliances in Canada

Find out how to get connected to electricity suppliers in Canada, what types of plugs devices need, and which TV standards and DVD regions are applicable...

The Canadian electricity market is essentially the responsibility of individual provinces or territories, who deal with regulation and policy for electricity providers. Each province and territory has a number of licensed electricity retailers who supply electricity to Canadian homes. Accordingly, there are differences in the electricity markets between provinces and territories, with some having wholesale competition, such as Alberta, and other markets being heavily regulated, like Ontario, and some being served by a single state provider (Manitoba).

Electricity is often called "hydro" in Canada, as a lot of Canadian power supply is from hydroelectric sources. Providers of electricity normally operate within a particular province or territory. There are often just one or two electric utility companies (hydro power companies) who supply electricity to a particular locality.

Finding Electricity Suppliers

Hydro or electricity suppliers can be found by searching the local telephone book or Yellow Pages for hydro electric utilities.

In British Columbia, the main electricity suppliers are:

In Québec, the main electricity supplier is Hydro-Québec.

Standard Electricity Supply and Compatibility

Electricity supply in Canada uses 110 volt electrical systems at 60 hertz (like the USA). Many electrical appliances are dual voltage so should be able to be used with a normal adapter. However, any appliance labelled 220v will need a transformer or 'down converter' and an adapter.

Canadian regulations stipulate that electrical appliances must be CSA (Canada Standards Association) approved, and often home insurance will not cover any damage caused by non-CSA approved appliances. It is not advisable to purchase a non-CSA approved appliance.

Plugs

The Type A plug (technically referred to as the NEMA 1-15) which has two parallel flat blades is used in Canada. These are also used in the USA.

Television

The television system in Canada uses the ATSC digital transmission standard, as do the USA, Mexico and South Korea, and any TV will need to be compatible with the ATSC standard to function. DVD players must either be region-free or set to region 1 (Canada and the USA).