Revocation of Agricultural Exemption FAQs

Until July 1, 2021, a Minister’s Exemption exempted all boilers, pressure vessels and piping used exclusively for agricultural purposes from complying with the Boilers and Pressure Vessels regulation.

As of that date, all boilers, pressure vessels or piping used for agricultural purposes must comply with:  

Here are some frequently asked questions about the revocation of agricultural exemption for boilers and pressure vessels.

  • Why was the Minister’s Exemption revoked?

    The Auditor General of Ontario’s 2018 value-for-money audit of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) recommended that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services - now known as the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD) - assess agricultural operation exemptions from safety regulations. In response to this recommendation, MPBSD undertook an assessment that included consultations with stakeholders, industry, and other relevant groups to gather information. Based on collaboration and discussions with agricultural operators, the Ontario Government decided to revoke the exemption for boilers and pressure equipment.  

  • What did the assessment and consultation process involve?

    The assessment process involved research and a literature review, a scan of Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions on their laws pertaining to boilers in agriculture, two in-person consultations, and 17 interviews involving 32 individuals. This information was presented in a Findings Report that was circulated to participants in March 2020. 

    A total of forty participants were involved in the assessment. They included insurance providers, greenhouse growers, cannabis greenhouse representatives, boiler inspectors and technicians, TSSA program staff and representatives from broader sector agricultural organizations. 

    TSSA, the ministry and the stakeholders worked closely to develop a solution. The Ontario Greenhouse Alliance and the insurance industry view the change as a positive measure to enhance public safety. 

  • My equipment was operating before the regulatory change. Will it be acceptable to TSSA?

    TSSA is aware that many devices operated in the agricultural sector before the regulatory change, and we have been working with owners to register the devices. 

    For equipment that was operating before July 1, 2021, TSSA will conduct inspections and evaluate safety based on Critical Safety Factors.

  • What is a site assessment and what does it involve?

    A TSSA inspector will visit a site and perform a first inspection on all devices that fall under the regulation. A TSSA BPV inspector will come to your site to look at your pressure equipment. If your devices are found to be exempt from the regulation, there will be no fee associated with the visit. This checklist (pdf) will provide guidance on what inspectors are looking for when assessing agricultural BPV equipment.

  • What fees are involved? 

    TSSA is a not-for-profit organization. Fees are levied using a cost-recovery model for registration, inspection, engineering, and licensing services. Owners of pressure equipment will be required to pay applicable fees to TSSA as outlined in the BPV fee schedule.

  • What if I do not agree with the fees that I am being charged?

    In accordance with the Technical Standards and Safety Act, any person affected by an inspector’s order, seal or who has a dispute regarding fees can submit an appeal. appeals of all inspector seals, orders and/or fees must be filed within 90 days of receiving a notice from TSSA. To register an informal appeal, please contact us toll-free at 1-877-682-8772. To register a formal appeal, please see Appeals Section and complete the applicable forms.

  • When will my site be scheduled for a first inspection?  

    TSSA will contact you in advance to schedule a first inspection using the contact information you provided, with priority given to higher-risk sites. First inspections began in September 2021 and will be conducted over five years.

  • What is a Variance and when should it be used?

    A variance refers to boilers or pressure vessels that do not meet code requirements. Variances may be allowed for items that are not in full compliance with the Technical Standards and Safety Act, Boilers and Pressure Vessels and Operating Engineers Regulations, Director’s Orders, and Code Adoption Documents. 

    A variance may be granted if the Director or Chief Officer is satisfied (as permitted in Section 36(3)(c) of the Technical Standards and Safety Act) that the variance would not detrimentally affect the safe use of the device.

  • Will orders be issued if an inspection identifies safety risks?

    A high-risk order will only be issued if an inspection identifies a condition that puts the property and individuals at risk. TSSA will follow up with high-risk orders in a predefined number of days. 

    For medium- and low-risk orders, owners will have the option to self-declare that they have complied with the items raised during the inspection. TSSA will work with owners and operators of agricultural BPVs to comply with the new rules.

  • What if I do not agree with an inspector’s decision?

    If an inspector has issued an order that may come into question, contractors are advised to follow the Inspection Order Resolution Protocol (pdf)) to have their concerns reviewed.

  • How will TSSA respond to non-compliant owners and operators?

    Owners and operators of regulated agricultural BPV equipment are required to report their devices and comply with the technical and regulatory requirements. TSSA has provided a variety of resources and contact information to keep the agricultural community informed and help them understand their compliance obligations. TSSA’s existing enforcement process as a regulator will be the last resort to bring owners and operators of agricultural BPV devices that have yet to meet regulatory requirements into compliance.

  • What should I do if there is an accident involving regulated equipment?  

    Every owner is responsible for maintaining and operating their pressure equipment safely. Should an accident that causes injury, death or property damage occur, the owner must report the incident to TSSA immediately.