FAQs: Alternate Rules for Plant Registration

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) regulates plants in Ontario and the Operating Engineers who manage, operate, and maintain them.

Alternate Rules for Certification (Plant Registration)

  • What is Alternate Table 8 and why is TSSA using it?

    Alternate Table 8 provides certificate applicants with more flexibility than the existing requirements of Table 8 in O. Reg 219/01.

    Some of the changes include:

    • 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.
  • How do I opt into the OE Alternate Rules?

    There is no requirement to “opt in” for the certification alternate rules, as TSSA will apply Alternate Table 8 to all applicants who are applying for certification.

  • I obtained my previous certification under the original rules. Can I switch to OE Alternate Rules for future certifications?

    Applications received are now automatically assessed using the Alternate Table 8.

  • Do Operating Engineer exams still expire?

    A passing grade on an examination that is a prerequisite for a certificate of qualification shall be valid for a period of five years or such other period as determined by the chief officer.

  • How do I know if I am getting the right qualifying time if the plant is operating under OE Alternate Rules?

    Please refer to the notes under Section 2 of Part 2 of the Minister’s Order: OE Rules (pdf).

  • What is Qualifying Experience Time?

    As defined in O. Reg 219/01, (d), “qualifying experience” means practical operating experience obtained in regular work periods in a plant and includes training and instruction as prescribed in this Regulation. This is often referred to as “Steam Time.” The correct terminology is Qualifying Experience Time.

  • I was previously assessed and denied certification. Can I be re-assessed under the OE Alternate Table 8?

    Yes, but please be advised that you will be required to submit a new Application for an Ontario Certificate of Qualification as an Operating Engineer or Operator.All updated Qualifying Experience Time must be accurately updated as well.

  • Why is the requirement for Qualifying Experience Time changing from months to hours?

    Qualifying Experience Time is now represented in hours instead of months to take into consideration unique shifts, schedules, and overtime worked. This change enables applicants to obtain their Qualifying Experience Time more efficiently.

  • Can I use Qualifying Experience Time from multiple technologies toward my application for certification?

    Yes. The certification process requires a minimum of 33% Qualifying Experience Time in the operation of Boilers for operating engineers at a registered plant. There will be a maximum of 33% of experience permitted on maintenance of regulated equipment, and the remainder of the experience requirements can be any combination of the technologies.