2018-2020 Fees: Q&A

General fee questions

The general fee increase will enable Technical Safety BC to deliver on the safety service enhancements outlined in our 2017-2019 business plan, including:

  • identifying and correcting unpermitted work, including work and equipment performed without permits and workers without the proper licence or certification;
  • supporting asset owners in understanding their responsibilities and raising awareness of relevant equipment safety hazards and ways they can help to foster safety;
  • developing certification programs to enhance industry safety knowledge and improve our ability to understand and support qualified people to act safely;
  • improving and expanding online services for clients and driving efficiencies to enable client service representatives and safety officers more time with clients; and
  • increasing client access to safety information, including: TechTalk sessions, online TechTalk tools, electronic newsletters, individual client safety reports.

Clients who pay permit, inspection, enforcement, registration, licence, certification and examination fees in any of the seven technologies Technical Safety BC regulates.

A fee increase of 2% each year for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

No. Technical Safety BC is a not-for-profit organization. Although we project and budget to break even, variable factors may contribute to additional revenue or reduced costs in any given year. Any surplus we experience is used to fund further improvements to the safety system or is added to our operating reserve.

In 2016 we increased physical inspections of equipment with an operating permit by 25%; developed and launched new online services for clients; improved our data gathering and analysis in order to more effectively identify safety hazard trends and prioritize our areas of focus; and significantly increased our enforcement efforts to address unsafe practices and foster a level playing field in BC.

The revised fees will come into effect February 1, 2018.

When we propose and set fee changes, they are based on considerations such as existing and future services, product and service development and delivery costs, and comparisons to municipal fees.

Meetings were held with key stakeholder associations representing the construction industry, electrical contractors, and power engineers.

The fee increase is based on factors such as existing and future service needs, product and service development and delivery costs, projected volumes, and comparisons with relevant organizations (e.g., municipalities) and applicable indices (e.g., historical and projected BC consumer price index over a 5 year period).

Since 2011, the Board has targeted an operating reserve level equal to 15% of the operating expenses for the next forecasted year. The operating reserve is used to mitigate the financial risk of forecasting and enable the organization to fulfill its safety operations mandate during an unexpected economic downturn. The operating reserve would be used to continue our efforts to ensure all work is appropriately permitted if revenue is impacted during economic fluctuations.

Technical Safety BC has developed a comprehensive budgeting and planning process and tracks expenses diligently throughout the year by performing regular variance analysis and forecasting. Also, Technical Safety BC is committed to continuous improvement to address inefficiencies, reduce costs, and drive service and oversight efficiencies through targeted investments in technology.

Although the value received for a fee can be specific to the product or service purchased, value can also include:

  • the ability to operate legally and participate in BC’s technical safety system;
  • access to aggregated information Technical Safety BC generates about hazard trends, industry and technology safety performance;
  • significant and direct access to safety officers via phone or email to answer technical questions and to client service representatives to answer process and administrative questions;
  • improved regulations and hazard identification based on an increased amount of data on which to analyze safety risks and services;
  • access to receiving various channels of safety information and education that are specific to equipment type; and
  • increased access to Technical Safety BC's continually growing suite of online services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As per our 2017 – 2019 Business Plan, improvements will include:

  • Standardizing and enhancing our certification processes across technologies
  • Implementing new tools and tracking systems to better capture, track and manage identified safety issues
  • Capturing more data and translating it into more useful safety information
  • Improving how you transact with us online and expanding what you can do
  • Providing asset owners with more integrated and tailored services

Technical Safety BC's fee changes are guided by the following principles:

  • Safety- and Data-Driven: Fees will be driven by our costs, client performance, risk and desired client behaviour.
  • Value: Fees will enhance the value clients see in our products and services.
  • Simplicity: Clients will easily understand when a fee is to be applied, what is included in the fee and the role client fees play in enabling a stronger safety system.
  • Client Perspective: Applying an “outside in” view, fees will be aligned and standardized across technologies where this makes sense.

Feedback is received, posted on our consultation page, and collated by our Stakeholder Engagement team.  Technical Safety BC's Board of Directors makes the final decision on the fee change(s).

Feedback is received, posted on our consultation page, and collated by our Stakeholder Engagement team.  Technical Safety BC's Board of Directors makes the final decision on the fee change(s).

Based on our risk assessment model, a physical inspection is not required for all permitted equipment. Fee revenues contribute to an entire system of safety oversight for the benefit of all British Columbians, including: certification and licensing, incident investigations, audits and assessments, research and data analysis, client education, safety information services, regulatory advancement, and enforcement activities.

In 2016, the Compliance and Enforcement program brought approximately 3,400 unpermitted sites into compliance and identified approximately 10,000 building sites and pieces of equipment for further follow-up regarding operating permit requirements. We continue to expand and enhance compliance and enforcement activities in BC to promote a level playing field.

We have expanded our team in the contact centre, implemented a more effective phone system, developed an entirely new suite of online client services, increased our inspection services, and expanded our educational offerings – such as TechTalks and online courses.

Questions about the power engineering certification fees

Technical Safety BC conducted a public consultation in June 2016 on proposed changes to the power engineering certification program. Following additional research and analysis, Technical Safety BC worked closely with the Government of British Columbia to issue Ministerial Order M065 on February 21, 2017 to amend the existing boiler, pressure vessel and power engineering regulation. This order requires all power engineers to renew their certification by December 2, 2018, with no fee to be applied for the first renewal.

The renewal fee of $100 for three years will fund:

  • administering renewal terms for certificate holders;
  • establishing a searchable database of power engineers in good standing;
  • enhancing security for certificate holders to reduce the likelihood of identity falsification; and
  • connecting active power engineers with pertinent safety information and opportunities for professional development.

 

The fee is based on the cost of resources required to deliver the renewal program. The fee is lower than other Technical Safety BC renewal fees and is aligned with power engineering renewal fees in other provinces.

 

There is no mandatory education or training for renewing a certificate at this time.

If you do not renew your certificate on or before December 2, 2018, your certificate will expire and you will not be able to legally work as a power engineer or a boiler equipment operator. You will then need to apply for reinstatement if you wish to have a valid certificate.

Yes, as per the following table:

Qualification

Renewal Term

2017 Fee

Gas Fitter

3 years

$139

Elevator Mechanic

3 years

$179

Mechanic in Training

1 year

$81

Personnel Hoist Operator

1 year

$128

The Certification and Licensing program is working towards establishing more consistency across the various technologies, not only in the requirement for renewal but also in the fees charged. As part of this effort, we consulted on fees for renewing electrical field safety representative certificates, and pressure welders will have a similar consultation at a later date.

The Province has forecasted a shortage of power engineers. This will impact industries that rely on power engineers for the safe operation of equipment. This amendment will help address that concern with changes that enable the recognition of training credentials from other jurisdictions for individuals who are already able to live and work in Canada.

Compliance & Enforcement Fees

There is a cost to the safety system when duty holders do not participate. Currently, compliant duty holders pay for most compliance and enforcement efforts and there are few financial consequences for those duty holders that do not participate in the safety system. Non-compliant duty holders will now bare the financial consequences of their actions.

Yes. Purchasing permits and compliance with safety standards is the law and these are foundational to BC’s safety system.

Administrative law requires Technical Safety BC to identify the proper duty holder and person(s) responsible for any unsafe or unlawful activity before taking enforcement action(s).

The cost of a compliance audit is determined by many factors, which may include the level of co-operation and preparedness of the duty holder being audited as well as the volume of non-compliance that is revealed through the audit process.

The fees that are recovered from compliance and enforcement efforts are fed back into the safety system and support future compliance and enforcement efforts. Technical Safety BC is not for profit and is responsible to all duty holders and the public to support the integrity of the safety system.

No. Technical Safety BC is not asking for more funding for compliance and enforcement from compliant duty holders. We are seeking to place the financial burden with the appropriate duty holders.

It involves approximately 6 hours, charged at the safety services rate. The process includes:

  • developing data streams and methods to identify unpermitted work
  • research and investigation of data to identify true instances of unpermitted work
  • file management of true instances of unpermitted work
  • follow up to ensure compliance is met and the appropriate safety outcome is achieved

Technical Safety BC will investigate and progressively enforce on all non-compliance that falls within its jurisdiction and authority.

 

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