Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Canadian Electrical CodeBy Pierre McDonald

Adopting the Canadian Electrical Code and regulations pertaining to public safety is the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments. Among the many regulations that provincial legislation mandates are those pertaining to which codes and standards are in force, who can perform trade work, and licensing and permitting requirements. Every province and territory is different, so for any business operating in more than one jurisdiction, understanding the differences can keep you competitive by helping ensure you comply with local requirements and avoid reworks due to out-of-date or incorrect installation practices.

The code adoption process
The adoption process varies in each jurisdiction since the provinces and territories have the right to mandate electrical safety as they see fit. Some jurisdictions will adopt the CE Code as published while others amend certain requirements to fit their needs. The adoption process itself also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, the CE Code automatically comes into force after a fixed time has passed from the code publication date (e.g., Yukon and Nova Scotia), while other jurisdictions consult with stakeholders and users prior to CE Code adoption. This process could vary from one month to well over a year and perhaps longer depending on government priorities at the time.

Creating an operational framework
Provincial and territorial legislation also provides jurisdictions with the framework necessary to allow for the operation of their safety system. This legislation provides the guidelines necessary for permitting, licensing and inspections. Legislation is paramount over code. For example, if an authority having jurisdiction enacts permit requirements in a regulation, the permit requirement of Rule 2-004 of the CE Code would no longer apply. In fact, most jurisdictions replace many administrative requirements in the CE Code listed from Rules 2-000 through to 2-032 with regulations. Ontario actually deletes them all and replaces them with requirements published in its Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

The permit process
Rules 2-004, 2-008 and 2-010 all apply to the permit process. While all jurisdictions use permits and require permits be obtained before performing electrical work, most jurisdictions have their own regulations and permitting process (see Rule 2-005 of the OESC for “Application of Inspection,” which is the term used instead of “Permit”). Permits allow for access to expert advice, a record of the project and a record of persons having done their due diligence. They also provide, in most cases, for a trigger at the early stages of a project for plans or design review. Finally, the permit is the vehicle that may initiate the inspection process.

Who is eligible for a permit
The person eligible to obtain a permit varies by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions require the recipient of the permit to be a Master Electrician (Alberta). Others require the recipient to be licensed (Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island), and yet others require both in most instances (British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec).

When permits aren’t required
Not all installations require a permit. For example, accredited corporations in Alberta do not require permits for work performed under their care and control. Corporations can be accredited by Alberta’s Safety Codes Council to administer the code within their boundaries. Permits are also not required in most parts of Canada where a like-for-like replacement takes place and electrical characteristics of the circuit do not change. Examples of this type of work would include replacing a luminaire or burned-out motor with the same product.

Annual and homeowner permits
The administrative rules of the CE Code that cover permits do not broach the topic of annual permits or homeowner permits. Most jurisdictions allow for both through legislation. Annual permits are for industrial, large commercial or institutional facilities that constantly perform minor electrical installations and upgrades. These permits eliminate the need to obtain individual permits for every job required throughout the year. The homeowner permit is strictly for homeowners, provided they live within the home. Most jurisdictions allow for homeowner permits and there are usually several requirements associated with their use.

Plans and specifications
Rule 2-014, Plans and Specifications is another administrative rule that most jurisdictions legislate outside the CE Code. Plans and specifications are sometimes required for review when the dollar value of an electrical installation exceeds a set value or when the authority having jurisdication (AHJ) deems the installation to be of a higher risk. This implies that more expensive installations typically indicate a more complex electrical system. A plans and specifications review could be viewed as a positive process as it can actually save money if electrical code violations are caught before they are committed. While most jurisdictions have different requirements, they all require that plans and specifications for electrical installations in clinics, hospitals and hazardous locations, as well as fire alarm systems and three phase installations be submitted to the inspection authority for review.

Approved equipment
The Rule for Approved Equipment, 2-024, is used by some jurisdictions to define approved equipment while others mandate approval through their own legislation. In either case, the industry understands approval to mean equipment certified to a Canadian standard and bearing evidence of this certification with a mark from a certification body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (see Canada’s Electrical Safety System ) from the January 7 issue of Electrical Industry Newsweek).


Other articles by this author:

2015 CE Code: Changes on “Approved Electrical Equipment” 

Code and Public Safety 

Section 62: Fixed Electric Heating Systems 

Now Available: CAN/ULC Standard on Electric Utility Workplace Electrical Safety

Establishing When the CE Code Becomes Mandatory 

UL Code Link 

CAN/ULC-S576-14, Standard for Mass Notification System Equipment and Accessories 

Canadian CE Code Changes: Section 20 and More 

Meeting National Building Code of Canada Requirements 

Conductor Ampacities and Their Temperature Rating 

Changes to Section 12 Wiring Methods 

Section 4 Conductors — Changes from the Canadian Electrical Code’s 2009, 21st Edition to the 2012, 22nd Edition 

      Salex Welcomes New Partner: Senso by Lumini                    

LDS Salex Spotlight 400Salex is pleased to announce a new partnership with Senso by Luminii – a Canadian manufacturer of locally made LED fixtures. As of August 6, Salex will represent their lighting products in the Southwestern Ontario region.

With every product, Senso Lighting pursues a vision of providing flexible and environmentally conscious lighting solutions to upgrade the typical fluorescent office. For over ten years, the Canadian manufacturer has specialized in LED technology and embarks on a mission to illuminate commercial spaces with custom solutions that are beautiful, economical and sustainable.



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Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

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