Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Jan 11, 2021

William (Bill) BurrThe 25th Edition of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1*, is now available for sale from CSA Group. Although some may feel that the $185 price tag for the code may seem expensive, keep in mind that:

• The CSA Group’s standard development organization is a not-for-profit standards developer, accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, and that revenue from sales supports the cost of ongoing development and maintenance of the code.

• The Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1, is the official authorized electrical safety law and is the only code recognized by regulatory authority inspectors and law courts throughout Canada.

• Your copy of the official code is one of the least pricy items in the electrician, contractor, manufacturer, legal firm, architect, and engineer’s toolbox.

The Canadian Electrical Code, CSA C22.1:21, Part 1 is a national standard of Canada published by the CSA Group relating to the safe installation, and maintenance of electrical equipment in Canada. First published in 1927, the CE Code, Part 1, published every three years, is also published in French, is used as the basis for electrical standards across Canada, and is adopted, by reference, by each province and territory in Canada. Some provinces and local municipal jurisdictions may amend the code specific to their region.

How is it developed and amended?

Each province and territory designates a representative, usually the chief electrical inspector or equivalent, to participate on the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, Technical Committee. In addition, the chief electrical inspectors from three of the larger municipalities in Canada participate as voting members of the CE Code committee.

The provinces and territories all adopt the CE Code into law, with few amendments, which provides uniform electrical codes and standards throughout Canada. The CE Code is also referenced by the federal Canada Labour Code. The federal government also plays a role through establishment and funding of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), a Crown corporation that promotes standardization and accredits standards development and certification organizations for Canada. This provides a framework upon which regulation of electrical safety in Canada takes place.

I am often asked how the Canadian Electrical Code was developed and how new rules get in the code and how rules are amended for new editions. To start this discussion, we need to understand the structure of the technical committee of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, which is responsible for the development and periodic amendment of the code.

The technical committee (TC) consists of

• a chair, vice-chair, an executive committee (EC) elected by the members

• a non-voting project manager (PM) appointed by the Canadian Standards Association

• a section sub-committee (SSC) for each section of the code

• a regulatory authority committee (RAC), and

• a maximum of 41 voting members

I will discuss the Regulatory Authority Committee a little later.

The chair of the TC, with the advice of the executive committee, appoints a chair for each section SSC from among the TC members, and the SSC chair appoints the members of their sub-committee. Anyone representing the following major interests can apply to be a member of a sub-committee — inspection authorities, manufacturers, employers, employees, consultants, utilities, testing laboratories, underwriters, fire marshals, primary and secondary industries, respective code-making panels of the National Electrical Code, and users. Each sub-committee consists of 8 to 12 members and is practicably balanced in representation from various geographical regions.

The 41 regular voting members of the technical committee are drawn from 3 main interest groups in conjunction with the following balanced matrix:

• regulatory authorities — 11 to 16 members, representing the various provincial, territorial, and municipal electrical inspection authorities across the country

• owner/operator/producer interests — 9 to 14 members, representing electrical manufacturers, electrical installation designers and installers and electrical installation user groups

• general Interested entities — 9 to 16 members, drawn from fire chiefs, electric utilities, other related codes and standards committees, fire insurers, labour, issuers of building codes, educators, consumer organizations, and certification organizations accredited by the Standards Council of Canada

Each of these members are nominated by the organization they represent and are approved for membership by the executive committee.

The technical committee usually meets once a year. Additional meetings are called as warranted, however, much of the business of the technical committee and section sub-committees is done between meetings through correspondence and electronic media.

Anyone can propose a new code rule or an amendment to the CSA project manager using the form contained in Annex B of Appendix C of the code. The proposal must be specifically worded and must

• improve safety

• address new technology

• correlate with product standard requirements

• correlate with other relevant standards, or

• clarify existing wording

Supporting information for the proposal must also be supplied.


The PM assigns a subject number to the proposal and sends it to the relevant section sub-committee chair and submits it for public review on the CSA website. The SSC chair distributes the proposal to the subcommittee members with the chair’s comments for discussion. The sub-committee deliberates the proposal, along with any public review comments, and may recommend it, amend it, keeping the original intent, or reject the proposal. The SSC chair then provides a report with the recommendations of the sub-committee to the technical committee for a vote by a mailed or emailed letter ballot. If the letter ballot on the SSC recommendation is affirmed by more than 50% of the total voting membership, with no negative votes, it is approved and, except for a recommendation of rejection, the amendment will be published in the next version of the code.

In the case of negative votes, the chair of the SSC, in consideration of the negative votes, has several courses of action: resolve through editorial changes, rule the negative(s) as non-germane, not relevant to the proposal, or non-persuasive if previously discussed. If there are any negative votes that cannot be resolved by the SSC chair, then the subject is put on the agenda of the next meeting of the technical committee.

When a letter ballot is on the agenda of a meeting, the subject is introduced by the chair of the SSC who explains the deliberations of the SSC and the negatives that couldn’t be resolved. An open discussion takes place, followed by a vote. If the subject is affirmed by a two-thirds majority, with no “regulatory negative,” then the subject is approved.

Whoa! What's a “egulatory negative? Well, I mentioned earlier that I would discuss the Regulatory Authority Committee (RAC) later in this article.

The RAC is made up of the regulatory authority representatives on the technical committee and is essentially the guardian of the legal framework of the code. Since the code is a legally adopted document by provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, the regulatory authorities need to make sure that the wording of any rules are suitable for enforcement. If any RAC member feels that a proposal for amendment to the code is not enforceable in their jurisdiction, they may vote a regulatory negative. This member must declare that their negative vote is a regulatory negative due to non-enforcement ability as opposed to a negative for any other technical reason. The subject is then referred to the Regulatory Authority Committee, which must develop a revised amendment carrying the same intent, in terms of safety and technical requirements, and submit to the section sub-committee for further consideration. It must be noted that this is not a veto, but an alternative wording with the same intent as the original proposal.

These procedures are outlined in Appendix C of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I; however, because it is written in the form of a standard, the process is sometimes a chore to follow. I trust this article clearly explains the process.

* Information for this article has been sourced from the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, published by CSA.


William (Bill) Burr is the former Chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on Electrical Safety (CACES), former Director of Electrical and Elevator Safety for the Province of BC, and former Director of Electrical and Gas Standards Development and former Director of Conformity Assessment at CSA Group. Bill can be reached at Burr and Associates Consulting billburr@gmail.com.

Nexans Webinar - Key 2021 Electrical Code Changes Impacting Wire and Cable

Nexans Free WebinarJoin NEXANS for a free webinar with Isaac Müller, Applications Engineer for Nexans as he reviews and discusses the changes to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code related to wire and cable. This free webinar will take place Wed, Jan 27, 2021 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

This webinar includes:
- Updated rules to protect cables (12-514,12-516)
- New conditions of use for wire & cable (Table 19)
- An opportunity to ask your questions

Click here to register today. 


 

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Go HERE to join the discussion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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