Scheduled Maintenance for Online Services

Online Services will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance from June 21 at 6 pm until June 24 at 8 am.  

Scheduled Maintenance for Online Services

Online Services will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance from June 21 at 6 pm until June 24 at 8 am.  

Core Connections 2024

Annual Public Meeting

Our virtual annual public meeting, Core Connections 2024

On May 23, 2024, we held our annual public meeting — Core Connections 2024 where we shared our latest initiatives, annual results, future plans, and how we are supporting people working in the safety system as we continue to navigate challenges related to economic uncertainty, inflation, and climate change. There was also an opportunity to ask questions of our Executive team.

This year’s meeting also featured a plenary session exploring the connections between human decision-making and incidents and what we can learn from each one, regardless of industry.

The recordings of the annual public meeting and plenary session are below.

Our annual public meeting, Core Connections 2024

Learn about our latest initiatives, annual results, future plans, and how we are supporting people working in the safety system.

Plenary Session - The Outcomes of Choices: Learning From Incidents Beyond Your Industry

This session delved into the roles each of us play in our safety system. During this hour-long deep dive, we shared our learnings from notable incident investigations, with a focus on the human decision-making involved and what we can learn from each incident, regardless of industry, to build the strongest safety system.

Our goal was to help attendees gain a better understanding of the context and influences of these important decisions, along with insights to help you recognize them as they arise to prevent unsafe conditions from occurring with regulated equipment.

Questions and Answers from Core Connections 2024

The following questions were asked by attendees during our live event. In the spirit of transparency and to share safety information, we are publishing our responses to these outstanding questions, which we were unable to answer during the event, due to time constraints.

Alternative Safety Approaches

A provincial safety manager makes decisions to approve exemption requests submitted by duty holders under the ASA regulation, consistent with the obligations under the Safety Standards Act. Prior to approval, and when required, we conduct cross-departmental consultations amongst our legal, engineering, technical and/or operational teams to for alignment. If you are experiencing issues or have concerns with your approved Safety Management Plans (SMPs) or Equivalent Safety Approaches (ESA), please contact the Safety Management Approaches team directly at asa@technicalsafetybc.ca.

Boilers, Pressure Vessels, and Refrigeration

We have been working closely with the Ministry of Housing to review CSA B52, and we have recommended adoption of the code, without variation, prior to 2025, to align with regulatory changes in the US. We will communicate with clients when we know more about the code adoption and implementation timelines. Read more about CSA B52 and our review process.

We are anticipating many questions and opportunities to clarify refrigerant changes when the updated codes become adopted. We will be offering opportunities to further connect and resolve issues related to interpretation and application at that time. Until then, we encourage industry to obtain the updated codes from the relevant standards body as they are now published. Read more.

We work closely with other provinces and international codes and standards bodies to align our training and qualification requirements with other jurisdictions. While exams for power engineers are standardized across Canada through the Standardization of Power Engineer Examinations Committee (SOPEEC), each province administers their certification. We have taken steps to recognize the certifications issued by other jurisdictions to the greatest extent possible. Our aim is to recognize qualifications from other jurisdictions and facilitate those moving to BC with the right qualifications from elsewhere. If you are moving to BC and looking to obtain certification, please view our power engineering certification page for more details.

Thank you for your feedback on how we can make this easier to understand. We will add this change to our list of improvements.

Electrical

Asset owners are responsible for obtaining operating permits as they are accountable for the safety of regulated equipment at the facilities they own.

Operating permits show that a qualified individual is responsible for the safe operation, maintenance, and inspection of equipment, as well as that the appropriate records are maintained and available on request.

As part of our new licensing platform, launching at the end of June, 2024, Field Safety Representatives (FSRs) will be notified when they have been removed or added to a contractor license.

In the meantime, FSRs can see installation or operating permits they are named on by logging into their online services account.

If an FSR’s credential has been used without their authorization, please let us know so that we can follow up with the permit owner.

Due to the number of external training providers offering comprehensive code training in the electrical technology, we stopped offering electrical code training to clients and to AHJ safety officers in 2021. We recognize that training AHJ safety officers alongside our own safety officers provides benefits of consistency and alignment. We will continue to assess the effectiveness of our approach.  

Thank you for your feedback that clear and specific requirements for operating permits are not sufficiently available on our website. Your comment helps us strive to lower barriers to participation in the safety system.

The Safety Standards Act, Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation requires that an operating permit be obtained for all boilers, pressure vessels and refrigeration systems unless a specific exemption is applicable to the equipment or occupancy under section 3 of the regulation.

We will work to improve access to this important information on our site.

Thank you for the feedback that registered training providers are not offering “anytime” options for Field Service Representatives (FSRs). We will pass along the feedback to training providers to see if it is possible for their training to be offered this way.

BC Ferries is regulated by the BC Ferries Commissioner. Ferries and other marine vehicles must comply with regulations set out by Transport Canada. We do not regulate electrical power sources for these vehicles or the transportation of electrical vehicles and electrical cargo.

We conduct operating permit assessments through Structured Resource Allocation, where we prioritize areas of higher risk and are more likely to find hazards. We gather and address hazard reports from the public. Each report is investigated.

If you suspect that an asset owner is not meeting their duties and obligations as outlined in the Safety Standards Act, please report it.

We enforce and encourage regular preventative maintenance of power distribution equipment through regulations and the Electrical Operating Permits directive. Operating permit holders must confirm that electrical equipment is safe and properly maintained, involving regular inspections and testing. They must acknowledge that all personnel are trained and up-to-date with the Safety Standards Act and relevant regulations. We educate asset owners through client outreach, such as Electrical Operating Permit Tech Talks, which aim to help asset owners understand their maintenance responsibilities, like keeping work logs, submitting compliance declarations, and posting permits in plain view. Field Safety Representatives (FSRs), either employed or contracted, oversee adherence to safety regulations and maintenance practices.

We address concerns about insufficient maintenance interest by requiring operating permits that mandate compliance with maintenance standards. Asset owners must follow these regulations to avoid penalties and confirm safety. Our approach of mandatory training, regular maintenance, and compliance endeavours to keep asset owners engaged and responsible for their electrical power distribution equipment, enhancing safety and reliability.

You can verify issued permits by using the permit search tool through our online services.

Elevating

We are working with the Ministry of Housing to adopt B-44 2019. We submitted our recommendation to the Province at the end of 2023 and will update clients when we have more information on the adoption of the code and associated implementation timelines. Read more about the elevating devices codes and hoist way access consultation and learn what we heard. Further updates will be shared once they are available. 

We appreciate your feedback, as we are always looking to simplify and approve our certification renewal processes.

All elevating devices mechanics, including Class A and C, require 24 hours of continuing education every three years as part of the renewal process. Please refer to our website for more details.

Courses that are not pre-approved by Technical Safety BC will not be accepted for renewal. If you are taking a course that is not provided by a registered training provider, please confirm with your course provider that the course has been approved by Technical Safety BC.

If you are a training provider or elevating devices contractor who would like their course recognized, please read more.

Thank you for your comment. We work with other jurisdictions to align on industry issues, requirements, and opportunities. We will continue to assess how we can best align our continuing education requirements and systems. 

We encourage you to reach out to our training provider/training course approval team with any further comments or questions.  

With the launch of our new certification system, we reduced wait times — from submission of a certification application to booking an exam — from 10 days to three days. Those updates did not involve changes to processes for booking inspections.

While we've taken steps to improve our overall system for inspection booking, there are some travel and time challenges associated with remote locations and unplanned inspection requests. We are working with clients to ensure inspection bookings and wait times will not have an unreasonable impact on their business. To minimize wait times, clients can check to see that their work is complete, compliant, and ready for inspection to help us reduce the volume of re-inspections necessary. Thank you for working with us to achieve a smooth experience.

We continue to evaluate the exemption of 8.11 and will complete this review separately from the adoption of B44-19. In-service elevating devices are currently subject to required maintenance programs for ongoing servicing and required testing by licensed contractors. Our safety officers conduct inspections according to our assessment approach, which includes prioritizing areas where there is higher risk for hazards to be found.

We provide permission for non-mechanic hoist way access on an as-needed basis. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to provide a certification process for this type of on-going permission.

Certification requirements are in place to confirm that qualified people are completing regulated work.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide exposure is our top safety risk for 2023, as published in our State of Safety Report. While following maintenance practices and manufacturer’s requirements can reduce the risk of CO exposure with operating equipment, there is currently no broad requirement for annual cleaning.

Compliance and Enforcement

While we are unable to speak to this specific case, we can provide general information regarding our investigation and enforcement processes.

Under the Safety Standards Act, we are mandated to investigate complaints related to regulated work being performed without the required licence and/or permits. Each case is assessed on an individual basis, with a focus on instances where significant safety risks are present, or where there is a documented history of repeated non-compliances.

When a non-compliance is identified, such as regulated work being performed without a permit, the contractor and/or individual who performed the work is provided with an opportunity to address the non-compliance (such as obtaining the necessary permit or calling for inspection). If these requirements are met, the case is closed. In situations where the contractor and/or individual who performed the work is unable or unwilling to address the non-compliance, we will consider taking progressive enforcement actions, proportionate to the identified hazards. These actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Issuing warning notices, discipline orders or compliance orders.
  • Imposing fines or monetary penalties. 
  • Attaching terms and conditions, suspending, or revoking permits to legally operate.

If enforcement action is taken and the contractor and/or the individual involved disagrees with it, they have the option to dispute the action through an appeal process.

If you suspect regulated work has been performed without the required permits and/or by an unlicensed, unqualified individual, please report it to us by using the incident and hazard reporting line at: 1 866 566 7233 or submit it online.

Under the Safety Standards Act section 18, safety officers can request records from a dealer, including records which are required to be maintained under section 33 of the Gas Safety Regulation (GSR). Section 33 of the GSR requires dealers of gas appliances to maintain a record of the name and address of the purchaser, the place of installation, and the type and model number of the gas appliance purchased. The information collected may be used to identify, investigate, and enforce against unlicensed, unqualified, and unpermitted regulated gas work.

More details about requirements for dealers to maintain records can be found in our information bulletin.

If you suspect regulated gas work has been performed by an unlicensed, unqualified individual, please report it to us by using the incident and hazard reporting line at: 1 866 566 7233 or submit it online.

The total number of assessments has remained relatively constant over the past five years. Read more on our State of Safety Report. With the increase in remote assessments in 2020 and enhanced digital tools, we now have the ability to choose to perform physical or remote assessments, at our discretion.

Finance and Financial Health

Safety is our mandate. Activities and services supporting our clients in safety are not, and will not, be affected by the financial health of our organization. We adjusted head-office roles in 2023 without impact to frontline service roles, and we continue to manage our discretionary spending in order to maintain service levels to clients.

Zero-based budgeting, agile funding releases, and reallocation of funds are some of the tactics we are applying to operate prudently.

We conduct many different types of audits – from compliance and enforcement audits, to audits of large LNG facilities, to reviews of the operations of industrial and commuter rail facilities. There are some audits where we check for compliance, while other audits relate to longstanding fraudulent practices involving unqualified individuals performing regulated work with the risk of serious hazards.

We are a non-profit, self-funded organization. In general, all fees for oversight services, including audit, are calculated on a cost-recovery basis and are consulted on with industry. The size, complexity or type of operation, or degree of non-compliances identified influences the scope of our audit work and which subject matters experts are required. Often audits can include inspection work, including across multiple technical disciplines or regulatory areas.

Trades, Certification, and Licensing

Trades training is delivered by SkilledTradesBC with the Ministry of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills. If you are seeing gaps in training areas such as HVAC technicians, we encourage you to reach out to Skilled Trades BC

Without knowing the applicable certification, it is difficult to be specific in our answer. All registered training providers for all certifications can be accessed on our website

Inspection Bodies are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada and are recognized in BC for providing the required inspection and applying the recognized approval labels to RVs. Recognized inspection bodies can be found in the Approved Certification Marks for Electrical Products information bulletin. Please reach out to those inspection bodies that may assist you with your RV. 

We do not enforce trade certifications issued by SkilledTradesBC. For information about trades certifications delivered by Skilled Trades BC with the Ministry of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills, please refer to Skilled Trades BC

The Safety Standards Act, adopted regulations and codes, applies to many areas including equipment, work, and operation. The design, manufacture, and construction of regulated equipment is important and remains part of the scope of regulation. In areas where third-party inspections are completed, the equipment is not exempt from the Act and regulation; however, the third-party inspection/certification can be accepted as a means of demonstrating or establishing compliance.

Working at Technical Safety BC

We continue to seek feedback to better understand what employees need. We have increased benefits surrounding mental health and wellness and added more events and opportunities for connection around the organization, particularly as we evolve our hybrid work model. We also found that the employee experience is shaped by the relationships employees have with their direct leader and team. We are investing in a leadership program that will continue to support leaders so they can effectively lead, develop, and engage their teams.

Thank you for your interest in Technical Safety BC. Technical safety is a broad general topic, and there are many associated fields of practice and standards available. We are the regulator of some specific types of technical equipment and associated work within the province of BC. Our website contains more information about our organization and the different types of careers available.

Working with Other Jurisdictions

We strive to work collaboratively with other regulators whenever we can. We acknowledge that there can be challenges when terminology has specific definitions and uses in different pieces of regulation. Ultimately, authority to amend our legislation and regulations rests with the Ministry of Housing, and Technical Safety BC and other regulators provide advice and recommendations when requested. We continue to build and maintain relationships with other regulators and jurisdictions to support consistency across the safety system.

Technical Safety BC has a current MOU with the BC Energy Regulator (BCER), formerly BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC), which was signed in late 2021.

The MOU sets out details regarding collaboration between the two regulators but does not contain specific technical information regarding the jurisdiction/scope boundaries between us. Information regarding which regulator is the enforcement authority in different circumstances for issues related to design registration can be found in this information bulletin. We are currently evaluating whether a similar information bulletin for installation and operating matters would be beneficial for industry. 

Plenary Session

The remarks from our Board Chair and Lead Executive Officer, as well as the financial update provided during our annual public meeting (APM) apply as much to rail as to the other technologies we oversee. Additionally, the learnings shared in this year’s plenary session, along with previous sessions on topics including assessments, and the impacts of climate change on our regulated technologies are also relevant to rail. We appreciate this feedback and will explore how we can deliver content at future APMs that more broadly reflects the interests of all attendees, including the rail industry.

Our Railway Safety Officers (RSOs) undergo comprehensive training that includes internal training with Technical Safety BC, covering basic public policy principles, regulatory requirements, and accident/incident investigation, among other topics. They also receive formal external training, such as track inspector qualifications, Lead Auditor qualification, locomotive handling and conductor training, and Transportation of Dangerous Goods certification.

Our RSOs have a close working relationship with each of our Certified Provincial Railway clients and work closely with them to meet their regulatory obligations for the ongoing safety and compliance of their operations. This includes providing education.

Standard Operating Procedures are a useful tool for establishing safe work practices under normal operating conditions. However, as we know, eventually, all systems experience an issue. This is why it’s important to have the right qualified person, with the right skills, engaged to deal with situations that may fall outside of those standard operating procedures.

We believe this question is referring to self-contained breathing apparatuses—a type of personal protective equipment — used to enter sites where ammonia exposure could be present. In the specific instance of the Kamloops incident, the rapid release of ammonia, as well as the directness of the exposure made it unlikely that evacuation protective equipment would have been helpful.

For more information on the Kamloops ammonia release incident, we encourage you to read our investigation report.

We know incidents can negatively impact people both physically and mentally. We also know that these impacts can be far-reaching. Family, friends, and workplaces are all impacted. This is why Technical Safety BC takes incidents, and incident investigations, seriously.

Our incident investigation program focuses on understanding the causes and contributing factors to incidents, so that we can share those learnings with industry and other safety partners to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Any legal consequences are reviewed separately from the incident investigation.
 

We’re aware that safety isn’t always everyone’s top priority. Our goal at Technical Safety BC is to reduce barriers to make it as easy as possible for people to interact with us. We hope that by sharing insights into what factors contributed to serious incidents, it will encourage everyone to be accountable for their roles in upholding safety.

In this case, the individuals working to remove the ammonia vessel were under the impression it was empty when that line was cut and therefore, a cap or plug was not a consideration. As we mentioned in the plenary session (watch recording), creating a shared understanding regarding the state of the system is the responsibility of both the owners and contractors involved. In this case, the requirement for how that was documented was not prescriptive, and the methods used did not result in a shared understanding.

The full report from our investigation can be found on our website.

Related Information