Technical Safety Review

Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education (formerly the department of Labour and Workplace Development) has embarked on a review of the current technical safety legislative framework. The review focusses on how the current legislation may be streamlined to reflect technological change, improve consistency, and meet the needs of a changing economy now and in the future, while ensuring that minimum regulated safety standards are achieved.

The following Acts are included in the review:

  • Amusement Devices Safety Act
  • Crane Operators and Power Engineers Act
  • Electrical Installation and Inspection Act
  • Elevators and Lifts Act
  • Steam Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act.

The intent was to create one Act that would initially consolidate the Steam Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act and the Crane Operators and Power Engineers Act; and become the enabling legislation for the Fuel Safety Regulations (which are currently under the Fire Safety Act). The new Act would complement -- but not replace -- the other above-named Acts until future phases of the review.

On May 27, 2008, the House of Assembly passed Bill No. 167 “An Act to Improve and Promote Technical Safety in the Province”, also known as the Technical Safety Act.

CONSULTATION
We prepared a Discussion Paper in July of 2007 which presented information and raised issues for consideration in relation to a new technical safety legislative framework for the Province of Nova Scotia. The Discussion Paper was widely distributed for consultation. The consultation period ended in October 2007. See the Discussion Paper for more information about the review.

The feedback was mostly positive, as most stakeholders applaud the proposal to create one Act for technical safety. Click here for a summary of the consultation feedback.

Meaningful consultation with industry will take place throughout the entire regulatory review process. Most of the changes to the regulations are to align with the new Act; however, the Steam Boilers and Pressure Vessels Regulation will require a more detailed review as it has become outdated.

TECHNICAL SAFETY ADVISORY GROUP TO THE MINISTER
The Department embarked on a review of the current legislative framework under the leadership of an in-house Steering Committee. As well, an Advisory Group to the Minister, consisting of key stakeholders, was convened. The membership of the Advisory Group is as follows:

  • Emmitt Kelly - Building Owners and Managers Association Atlantic, and NS
    Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
  • Ann Janega - Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Carol MacCulloch - Construction Association of Nova Scotia
  • John “Smokey” MacNeil - Power Engineers and Operators Board
  • Phil Nelson - Maintenance Management, Public Works and Government Services
    Canada (PWGSC)
  • Arnie Wilkins - Technical Inspection Services, NB Public Safety
  • Colin Campbell - United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America (UBC) and Chair, NS Apprenticeship Board
  • Marjorie Davison - Apprenticeship and Skills Development (formerly a branch of NS Education)
  • Robert Cormier - Public Safety Division, NS Labour and Advanced Education
  • Dave Wigmore (Chair) - Public Safety Division, NS Labour and Advanced Education , and
  • Lia Thibault - Policy Division, NS Labour and Advanced Education

The Advisory Group provided high-level preliminary advice to the Steering Committee on a new technical safety legislative framework for Nova Scotia. Based on this advice, the Department consulted with the broader stakeholder community by issuing a Discussion Paper.

The consultation feedback was reviewed by the Steering Committee, which provided advice to the stakeholder Advisory Group. The Advisory Group reviewed the stakeholder feedback and Steering Committee advice, which lead to 19 recommendations to the Minister for a modernized technical safety framework.

In particular, the Advisory Group recommended that the following statutes be consolidated into one Act for technical safety:

  • Amusement Devices Safety Act
  • Crane Operators and Power Engineers Act
  • Electrical Installation and Inspection Act
  • Elevators and Lifts Act
  • Steam Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act.

As well, the Advisory Group recommended that the consolidated Act become the enabling legislation for the Fuel Safety Regulations (which are currently under the Fire Safety Act).
The creation of the new Act would initially consolidate the Steam Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act and the Crane Operators and Power Engineers Act; and complement -- but not replace -- the other above-named Acts until future phases of the review.

In addition, the Advisory Group recommended that the new Act should:

  • be uniform, consistent, and easier to understand
  • include over-arching principles (with detailed requirements in the regulations)
  • accommodate future changes and not be rendered obsolete by technological change or new safety requirements
  • empower the technical safety system by recognizing integral relationships, establishing clear responsibilities and accountability, and treating everyone fairly and equally
  • emphasize the role of all persons who are involved in particular activities, services, goods, or things which affect technical safety and which need controls to reduce risk
  • bind the Province of Nova Scotia
  • authorize the exemption of certain processes, establishments or things from provisions of the Act or regulations
  • align the authority of personnel with robust models provided by the Fire Safety Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, by giving the Administrator and inspectorate supervisory, administrative, and enforcement power
  • provide for streamlined processes such as one advisory structure (with the ability to convene sub-committees on special issues) to provide expert advice to the Minister, and a single simplified appeal structure
  • provide a consistent approach to licences, permits, approvals, registrations, and certifications
  • accommodate inter-provincial trade and workforce mobility
  • provide clear criteria for approval of deviations from the Act, regulations, or codes
  • allow for flexible regulations that are adaptable to technical change and are responsive to stakeholder needs, without compromising safety, and
  • enable the adoption of current standards with the ability to adopt new or revised standards.

As well, the Advisory Group recommended that the technical safety framework as a whole should:

  • strengthen the accountability of government and the Department to the public and emphasize that the Minister is responsible for reporting to the Nova Scotia government on all issues relating to improving, promoting, and ensuring technical safety
  • structure the work of the Department so that services to clients are delivered more effectively
  • develop a risk management model that assigns greater attention to those activities that pose the greatest relative risk to reduce the risk, while maintaining an appropriate level of surveillance to the remaining activities
  • promote ease of access to information related to regulated equipment and systems
  • provide a forum by which stakeholders can provide input for regulatory changes on an on-going basis
  • ensure the fee structure associated with the delivery of the technical safety program is consistent with the recommendations of the 1997 Licences, Permits, and Approvals Task Force
  • ensure safety, protect health and environment, and enhance safety outcomes
  • follow “better regulation” principles, including those of the Department’s Competitiveness and Compliance Initiative, for improved regulatory efficiency and effectiveness through the elimination of unnecessary regulation and regulatory burden
  • promote consistency with other legislative tools.

Finally, the Advisory Group recommended that the Department should explore, analyze, and maximize program delivery options for technical safety in Nova Scotia

The Department has no issues with, and has accepted, the recommendations of the Advisory Group.

PHASES OF THE REVIEW
The Act will come into force upon proclamation, in early 2009. This delay will allow the infrastructure of the new framework to be designed and implemented. For instance, the proposed streamlined advisory and appeal structures will require the consolidation or repeal of existing advisory / appeal boards and processes.

A phase-in approach is recommended for the repeal of existing Acts due to the time and work necessary to update, and consult with stakeholders on, the regulations. Each phase entails proclamation of provisions repealing an Act(s); and the review and implementation of an updated regulation.

The implementation schedule is subject to change.