Information Bulletin: Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP)
July 25, 2019
The following information bulletin is being issued to explain the process by which a duty holder can apply for acceptance into the Technical Safety BC Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP).
Duty Holder: A person or company who is responsible for compliance because they either own regulated products or perform regulated work.
Non-compliance: A condition where a regulatory requirement has not been met. Regulatory requirements are contained within legislation/regulation and represent the minimum acceptable condition.
Safety Standards Act and associated regulations: Includes the Safety Standards Act, Safety Standards General Regulation, Gas Safety Regulation, Electrical Safety Regulation, Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation, Elevating Devices Safety Regulation, Alternative Safety Approaches Regulation and all codes and standards adopted under any one of the listed regulations.
What is the Voluntary Disclosure Program?
The Voluntary Disclosure Program promotes compliance with the Safety Standards Act and associated regulations by encouraging duty holders to voluntarily come forward and enter into a process where they will be able to correct certain aspects of existing non-compliant work.
If a duty holder is accepted into the program and successfully completes all the necessary requirements, then the duty holder would be exempt from potential compliance and enforcement actions against the identified non-compliant work that they would have otherwise been subject to under legislation.
Why the Voluntary Disclosure Program was created?
Technical Safety BC has become more effective at identifying the overall performance of duty holders. In particular, there has been significant work and analysis in the area of unpermitted work which has identified a strong correlation between unpermitted work and high hazards.
In 2018 there was a substantial effort made to enhance our ability to track and manage technical non-compliance. In addition, our compliance and enforcement activities have substantially increased since 2016 which includes compliance auditing and the application of dedicated fees for compliance and enforcement activities.
As a result, duty holders are now more aware of their regulatory obligations and, as such, may wish to proactively ensure that they are fully compliant with the Safety Standards Act and associated regulations. To better facilitate their ability to do so, the VDP was created to allow duty holders to become fully compliant without incurring the risk of enforcement action.
**Note: The VDP is not intended to serve as a means by which duty holders can intentionally avoid their legal responsibilities under legislation but rather was created to provide an acceptable one time alternative for duty holders to bring themselves into compliance.
How to enter the Voluntary Disclosure Program
As the VDP is an optional program, a duty holder must first complete and submit a VDP application form online.
Each application will be reviewed and, if accepted, the duty holder will be provided 60 days to do the following:
- Perform a review of all regulated work performed in the two year period prior to the date of program registration.
- Identify any regulated work performed where a permit was required and it can be determined that a permit was not obtained.
- Obtain permit(s) for any work identified.
- Identify any permit(s) obtained within the two-year period which may be undervalued and amend any such permits.
- Correct any outstanding non-compliances associated with active permit(s) and submit request(s) for inspection of the work involved.
- Identify any other active permit(s) that require a request for inspection to be submitted and submit requests where required.
- Complete and submit an information spreadsheet listing all affected work.
- Obtain and submit a list of all regulated equipment and materials purchased from suppliers for the work performed within the two year period.
In the event that a VDP application is denied, the duty holder will be provided with a written explanation of the reason(s) for the decision. Some examples of when a VDP application may be denied include the following:
- The duty holder has already previously utilized the VDP to disclose non-compliant activity.
- The duty holder is already under investigation as a result of an allegation of non-compliant activity.
- The duty holder is in the process of being subject to a compliance or enforcement action.
What happens after submitting the results of a review?
Upon receipt of a VDP submission from a successful applicant, the provided information will be thoroughly reviewed by Technical Safety BC. If the terms and conditions of the program have been satisfied, the duty holder will be advised of their successful completion of the program. At this point, the duty holder will cease to be a participant of the VDP and future actions cannot be deemed part of the VDP.
Please note: That Technical Safety BC reserves the right to subsequently audit or further verify any information that has been provided by the duty holder at any time. If at any time it is found that the disclosure is incomplete or fraudulent, or that portions of the duty holder’s records have been destroyed or altered in an effort to understate their volume of work and revenues, then the applicant’s participation in the VDP will be immediately terminated (as per the terms of the VDP) and the duty holder may be subject to enforcement action.
Provincial Safety Manager
Safety Standards Act
Electrical Safety Regulation
Elevating Devices Safety Regulation
Gas Safety Regulation
Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel & Refrigeration Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation
Safety Standards Act Repeal and Transitional Provisions Regulations