Alternate Rules for O. Reg 219/01

Under Alternate Rules, plants and operating engineers can receive authorization from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) to operate under an alternate safety path.

Power plants in Ontario are subject to regulation by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in accordance with Ontario Regulation 219/01: Operating Engineers (

O. Reg 219/01 applies by default. However, under the Alternate Rules, registered plant owners and users can opt to receive authorization from TSSA to operate under an alternate safety path.

These Alternate Rules came into effect on October 2, 2020, when the then-Minister of Government and Consumer Services (now Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery) approved them to aid the efficient and flexible administration of technical standards under O. Reg 219/01.

These alternate rules facilitate a risk-based approach to industry regulation, and affect certain requirements in O. Reg 219/01, including plant staffing, certification time requirements, and electronic logbook requirements.

There are now three safety paths which TSSA regulates and monitor for safety compliance:

  • Path 0 – Plants are managed in accordance with the requirements under O. Reg 219/01.
  • Path 1 – Plants are regulated and rated based on a risk calculation measured by several factors in addition to the plant rating that governs risk in Path 0.
  • Path 2 – Regulated plants implement Risk and Safety Management Plans customized for their specific sites that include additional risk management technologies and other processes developed by professional engineers and approved by TSSA.

In other words, plants may continue following the existing O. Reg 219/01 or choose to follow alternate rules.     

Additional Alternate Rules also offer Operating Engineers alternative methods of meeting their certification requirements.

Application for Alternate Rules and Changes to Previous Submissions (pdf)

Path 1

Path 1 measures the size, complexity, and safety risk of many factors in addition to a plant’s power rating, such as:

  • Technology type – boilers, refrigeration, steam prime movers and compression.
  • Plant configuration – design, operating environment, and process parameters.
  • Plant occupancy and type of exposure.

These factors are used to calculate a risk rating for the plant, which is then used to determine appropriate staffing requirements (subject to the Chief Officer’s right to adjust the plant staffing requirements as necessary).

Path 1 plants are subject to regular TSSA inspections.

Helpful Path 1 resources

For more details, read the Minister’s Order: OE Rules (pdf), or see FAQs: Alternate Rules for Plants.

Path 2

Path 2 of the alternate rules requires plant owners and users to customize a site-specific Risk and Safety Management Plans for TSSA review.

The plan must be signed by a professional engineer and a senior person responsible for site safety.

The plan must provide evidence to support the plant’s ability to maintain safety, based on an acceptable risk level.

If the plant’s Risk and Safety Management Plan (RSMP) is approved by TSSA, the plant must maintain safety compliance records for review by TSSA.     

Path 2 plants are subject to regular TSSA inspections and audits of RSMP-related documents and records.

Helpful Path 2 resources

Operating Engineers Certification Changes

Alternate rules offer Operating Engineers alternative methods of meeting their certification requirements.

Here are some of the changes that were implemented:

  • QET is expressed in hours to facilitate the counting of hours for irregular shifts and overtime. (As defined in the regulation, QET is the period of time during which a certified person performs duties related to the operation and maintenance of the registered plant at their current level. QET is required for an individual to apply for a higher level of certification.)
  • Certificate holders and first-time applicants have the option to pursue exams and meet the experience requirements either concurrently or at their own pace. For example, a certified fourth-class Operating Engineer who has successfully challenged his/her third-class exams and is acquiring fourth class QET can begin writing any second-class exam before achieving third-class certification.
  • Compressors, refrigeration, and steam prime movers are recognized for up to one third QET.
  • Out-of-province and/or unattended plant QET gained under the supervision of an Operating Engineer may be accepted.
  • A QET reduction is available to applicants who have completed an accredited training program.

For more details, read the Minister’s Order: OE Rules (pdf), or see FAQs Alternate Rules for Certification.