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Core Connections 2021

Core Connections 2022

Core Connections 2022

What are the biggest safety risks in British Columbia today? What is the current state of safety in the province?

These are some of the topics we covered at this year’s virtual annual public meeting, Core Connections 2022.

On May 26, we shared Technical Safety BC’s initiatives, annual results, and future plans as we continue to assist our clients while they respond, recover, and thrive during these uncertain times. There was also an opportunity to ask questions of our entire Executive Team.

In addition to our annual public meeting, Core Connections included three topic-specific breakout sessions on transforming how we do assessments, climate risks to the safety system, and how we can better serve our clients. 

If you didn’t have a chance to attend Core Connections 2022, you can watch the recorded sessions below.

Core Connections Q&A

Due to time constraints, we couldn't answer every question that was asked during our Core Connections 2022 live event. You can now find answers to those questions below.

Regulatory Compliance

As a public stakeholder, I understand the reason to give a reasonable time to correct issues, but if there are repeat problems with the same entity, isn't a big fine the best way to get immediate compliance?

Answer: As a regulator our actions are governed by administrative law and the principle of a “duty of fairness”. While an individual may have repeat problems, each instance is unique to itself and we are required by law to provide them with opportunities to correct the non-compliance, ask for extensions when reasonable, appeal to the Safety Manager for review of the non-compliance and if they feel compelled, they can appeal to the Safety Standards Appeal Board. Technical Safety BC does not issue fines, we issue monetary penalties. The ability and the reasons for a monetary penalty are clearly defined in the Act and can only be issued under certain circumstances. Finally, all these steps have defined timelines, and unfortunately if they run their full course can take months. However, if a safety officer feels that a non-compliance is truly unsafe, they have the authority to shut off or decommission the equipment or issue a safety order to make it safe.

 

When will the new 25th edition of the Canadian Electrical code come into effect?

Answer: Technical Safety BC has recommended adoption of the Canadian Electrical Code to the Province and the ultimate adoption of the Code rests with the Ministry of the Attorney General. A date for adoption has not yet been announced, and we will communicate with impacted parties when an adoption timeline is known.

 

 

Government Relations

How does Technical Safety BC, as a regulator, work with the Government of BC's related Ministries, such as Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and Ministry of Environment? Is there a MoU in place between these 2 entities (Gov't and TSBC)?

Answer: As a delegated authority, Technical Safety BC operates under two Administrative Agreements with the Province. One pertains to administration of the Safety Standards Act and currently falls under the Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing, the other pertains to administration of the Railway Safety Act which falls under the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Both can be found on our website.

Through these Ministries we also engage with other Ministries on matters of mutual concern or intersecting oversight, including both Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

 

With municipalities building codes and bylaws and the province moving toward zero emissions for gas will Technical Safety BC have a more integrated working relationship with the cities with regards to these future changes and technical changes?

Answer: Technical Safety BC is working with all levels of government and other partners to support the realization of Clean BC targets as they pertain to regulated equipment and work.

 

 

Client Education

Why did Technical Safety BC decide not to host the 2021 electrical code change course for FSR renewal requirements?

Answer: Based on your input and feedback, Technical Safety BC has made the decision not to offer code update training for the 2021 Electrical Code changes. We believe our absence from the code change education and training market will enable training providers to expand and diversify their offerings and provide coverage to meet the needs of FSRs and the electrical industry. The delivery of quality, accessible code update education is important, and we will monitor supply and demand to assess if, and when Technical Safety BC may need to provide training assistance.  

I am an Electrical Contractor and up to about 4 years ago we received very good tech talk training sessions for electricians and contractors. It would now appear that this mandate has ended for some reason, especially in our geographic location here in Victoria—the last seminar was offered more than 3 years ago, and I don’t think this is acceptable. Covid was obviously a factor, but does Technical Safety BC have plans to restart these sessions?

Answer: Client Education is currently looking at reintroducing Tech Talks back into the education roster as we have heard that our clients value not only the information presented in these talks but also the opportunity to connect with their local safety officers. With potential new code changes coming, we are planning to run a series of new talks in the fall and are currently looking into how we may be able to provide at least some of these talks face to face around the different regions we serve. Information about this should be available on our website later this summer and will likely also go out in an email or newsletter. You can subscribe to our newsletter here.

 
The COVID pandemic has negatively affected technician ability to obtain prerequisite training. Is Technical Safety BC working with training providers to expand training availability?

Answer: This depends on the specific discipline or type of technology. For example: For Field Safety Representatives we have been working very closely with training providers over the past year to ensure that continuing education training is available and accessible across the province through a variety of delivery options. For more specific information, please submit your enquiry at programrecognition@technicalsafetybc.ca.

 
Is Technical Safety BC involved in any way with updating the current Power Engineering curriculum in BCIT and CNC to include more information on thermal oil and ORC systems so prevalent in the forest industry?

Answer: The 4th class Power Engineering curriculum is not owned by BCIT or CNC. The curriculum is updated by the Inter-Provincial Power Engineering Curriculum Committee (IPECC) which consists of instructors and regulators across Canada. Any updates to the curriculum go through a voting process at the Standardization of Power Engineer Examination Committee (SOPEEC) and a final approval by the Canadian Association of Chief Inspectors (ACI) which consists of regulatory jurisdictions across Canada. Our technical team can submit these types of industry requests directly to the IPECC.

 

 

Inspections and Assessments

How are you going to stay on top of inspections as cities grow and densify? Is there a fear of growth outstripping Technical Safety BC’s capacity to inspect and regulate?

Answer: Growth and capacity are always top of mind for our assessment operations. That’s why we explore, develop, and use innovative tools to support the delivery of safety at scale. Through the use of tools like machine learning, remote assessments, and audits, we strive to deliver the highest value inspections while keeping costs low and sustainable. Growth and densification doesn’t translate directly into more inspections and regulations. It means we’ll keep getting better at deploying the right resources at the right time to address the highest risks. We will enhance knowledge and participation in the safety system and use the many levers available to us, not only inspections.  

Regarding the re-inspection fee, do you charge it whenever the inspection fails? As far as I know, Vancouver and Burnaby don’t charge re-inspection fees for every inspection fail (for electrical). Is this true?

Answer: Yes. Re-Inspection fees have always been a part of the fee schedule. The minimum charge for re-inspections is one hour for a physical inspection. Remote assessments have recently been added to the fee schedule, with a minimum of 30 minutes. 

The City of Vancouver and City of Burnaby provide information within their fee schedule involving re-inspection fees, please contact the City of Vancouver or Burnaby for additional information.

 

 

Stakeholder Engagement

Are there any plans to restart the Boiler Technology Advisory Committee meetings?

Answer: While we will not be bringing back the general Boiler Technology Advisory Committee (BTAC) meetings, our team will be exploring current and future topics related to the boiler technology within the next year and will be looking for industry experts and representatives to participate on those topic-specific advisory committees. Those opportunities will be posted on our Engage site or you can email us for more information. Other engagement opportunities for all technologies will also be posted on our Engage site.

If you have an emerging technical or regulatory issue that you’d like to share with us, please email us. Our team meets regularly with our technical and policy teams to discuss and prioritize safety issues and opportunities for improvement and closing regulatory gaps.

 

 

State of Safety and Incident Reporting

Is there a location to see organizations safety incidents and what were the outcomes? Also, seeing the analytics indicating which factors are common during specific types of safety events?

Answer: As part of Technical Safety BC's commitment to share safety information with clients and the public, we share our incident investigation summaries. The investigations are documented in our enhanced incident investigation report format and organized by technology.

In addition, each year we publish the State of Safety, which provides an overview of the incidents, injuries, emerging risks, and efforts undertaken in the last year to improve safety across British Columbia’s technical systems.

 

 

Passenger Ropeways

Any word on acceptance of the Passenger Ropeway and Passenger Conveyor Code Z98-19?

Answer: Technical Safety BC has recommended adoption of the 2019 edition of the CSA Z-98 Safety Code for Passenger Ropeways and Passenger Conveyors. The province is reviewing our recommendation. Technical Safety BC will engage with industry and share information when further information is available.

 

Will Technical Safety BC play a role in developing a policy regarding the transport of lithium-ion batteries on e-bikes and quads in enclosed gondolas?

Answer: Technical Safety BC is aware of changing technologies in mountain bikes, including lithium-ion batteries, and the use of these mountain bikes on passenger ropeways. While we are not currently implementing any policy changes, we are monitoring the issue and would welcome reports of any concerns, and particularly reports of any hazards or incidents experienced on passenger ropeways. Technical Safety BC actively participates in the CSA Z-98 code committee that develops the Safety Code for Passenger Ropeways and Passenger Conveyors, and we anticipate that this issue will be actively discussed at that committee.

 

 

Gas and Electrical

Is there going to be any training/endorsement for people with Gas B to be able to install/charge Residential Heat Pumps?
Answer: Residential heat pumps are outside of Technical Safety BC's oversight. The TECA offers training and certification for individuals who hold a Class B certification. Please visit their website for more information.  
What progress has been made to resolve jurisdictional boundaries between stationary engineers and mechanical contractors (plumbing trades oriented) and electrical trades as to which inspection/permit department has authority with modifications and repairs to operating installations? Presently I often see the electrical work being performed by the two aforementioned groups.
Answer: For activities performed under the Safety Standards Act not dealing with other authorities having jurisdiction (i.e., federal sites, utility work, etc.) there is no jurisdictional conflict. Technical Safety BC does not regulate plumbing activities so we can’t comment on any of those permitting requirements. If mechanical trades work involves regulated electrical equipment like heat pumps, air conditioning units, electric hot water tanks, etc. then an electrical permit is required.

Areas where potential confusion may arise are when the mechanical jurisdiction (gas/plumbing) is administered by another
authority having jurisdiction. Technical Safety BC shares areas of the province with municipal regulators. In some cases, the Gas and Electrical may be done by different entities (Technical Safety BC and Municipal). This would require the individual (duty holder) to be aware that more than one permit may be required, and more than one authority may be involved. This also may be the case in a single jurisdiction that regulates multiple technologies. Multiple permits may be required for the separate regulated disciplines.

When operating equipment like a boiler that has gas or electrical systems integral to the boiler then there may be up to three duty holders responsible for the complete installation/operation. The distinction for each of the technologies is outlined in the regulations:
Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation (BPVR), Gas Safety Regulation (GSR), and the Electrical Safety Regulation (ESR). For BPVR, certain individuals are allowed to perform limited scope electrical work on the piece of equipment. The same is the case under the GSR—certain individuals may perform electrical work on regulated gas equipment. All other regulated electrical work leading up to the regulated boiler or gas equipment must be done under the ESR. Therefore, there may be several parties obtaining permits for seemingly the same work, but the scopes of work are different.
 


Permits

I am an electrical contractor and I really appreciate the online permit system's new function of being able to change the scope of an existing permit. I am wondering if there is a timeline on when we will be able to change the value of an existing permit as well?
Answer: We are happy to hear you are finding the new functionality for permits helpful and it is these key pieces of feedback that enable us to support our clients and stakeholders’ online needs. Currently at Technical Safety BC we are focused on the functionality of our Certification product. Once this has been completed, we will then enter a stage of reviewing permits. While we cannot provide a definitive timeframe, we will be consulting with our clients once more information is available. If you’re interested in future opportunities to provide feedback, please sign up for our newsletter.  


Unlicensed work

With costs going up and customers wanting to save money and using noncertified people to work on LP gas and other trades what is Technical Safety BC doing to crack down on non-licensed people working on systems?

Answer: There is a need for greater public awareness of electrical safety at home and the importance of hiring a licensed contractor to perform regulated electrical and gas work.

Changes to the Safety Standards Act and Safety Standards General Regulation, will strengthen the public’s ability to identify which contractors are licensed and legally allowed to perform work in BC. Effective September 6, 2022, contractors will be required to publish their company name and Technical Safety BC license number when advertising their services to the public. This change was requested by licensed contractors to:

  • deter unlicensed contractors from advertising their services;
  • educate the public about the importance of licensed work and support them in finding contractors; and
  • better enable Technical Safety BC to initiate compliance and enforcement activity against unlicensed work.
 
   


Certification

I am inquiring about Brazing certification testing. Is there a testing facility list available for this testing requirement?
Answer: Currently, there is no regulatory requirement for those performing brazing on regulated equipment to hold a certification of qualification or otherwise for brazing. The Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation does require the registration of brazing procedure specifications. Just like welding. Adopted codes, such as CSA B51, provides support for the requirement of brazing performance qualifications to be completed. But enforcement and oversight for brazing is currently a grey area with Technical Safety BC. Contractors are welcome to reach out to a recognized test administrator (RTA) to have performance qualification tests completed, but we do not have a current list of who may or may not administer them at this time. The list of RTAs can be found here on our website.  
Just wondering if Technical Safety BC is aware that some private schools are giving training for 3 weeks and get qualified to work in boiler?

Answer: Technical Safety BC is not aware of any 3-week training to get qualified to work with boilers. Our Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation—Section 19 (5)—allows a one-time 6-month credit towards qualifying time to be granted to individuals who take 200 hours of power lab training at an approved boiler plant power lab. Currently, BCIT is the only approved boiler power lab training program offering 200 hours of power lab training.