Ontario safety authority revises programs due to pandemic

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After years of service, it was time to replace the old boiler. But first, the asbestos wrapped pipes had to be dealt with.

Etobicoke, ON—The Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) will be implementing a new business model, fee structure, revised contractor audit program, and new compliant support programs in 2021.

Consultations regarding changes began back in September 2019. “TSSA’s goals are to improve their operations, simplify the fee structure, and transition to an outcome-based regulator,” reports the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). The contractor audit program checklist will be updated, except for “item three,” which will be worked on by the Residential Heating Ventilation Contractors Association (RHVCA), HRAI, and TSSA pending the release of Enbridge’s revised protocols in 2021.

The Compliance Support Program provides entities with high-risk devices the opportunity to work directly with TSSA to address their specific issues. A recent update was made to the Heating Contractor Audit Program due to the ongoing pandemic. The previous model involved contractors setting up site visits for inspectors. Since safety concerns in the workplace are at an all-time high, the revised program included parameters which allows for inspectors to do virtual audits, typically via Skype or telephone. TSSA began utilizing the new industry compliance standards in spring 2020 to enhance its regulatory oversight. Compliance standards are based on existing requirements but stress the importance of understanding and addressing high-risk obligations that have been identified.

In addition, TSSA will be upgrading its IT platform, process and billing methods. This will include launching their boilers and pressure vessels program in 2021 and a portal to automate the renewal process for inspections.

Planned to start next spring, TSSA will be restructuring their approach to collecting fees. There will not be fixed annual fees that incorporate fees for licenses and inspections. This new authorization fee will cover licensing, permitting and registration, all periodic inspections and one follow-up inspection.

The new flat fee is based on a five-year average of inspection hours. Engineering applications will be pre-paid, which will also be included in the fixed fees.

Additional fees will apply when customers require repeated follow-up inspections due to “non-compliance.”

The billing method is reported to collect the same overall revenue, while addressing concerns about the complexity of the current fee schedule and the unpredictable nature of inspection invoices, according to TSSA.

For more information, visit the TSSA website.

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