CRN (Canadian Registration Number) number

In the previous two articles of this series, we discussed what a CRN (Canadian Registration Number) number is, and why they’re necessary.  In this article, we’re going to start talking about instances when pressure equipment does not need a CRN, and about how this is important to consider.

In Canada, except for federal facilities, pressure equipment safety is governed by provincial or territorial (jurisdictional) legislation.  And despite the separation between provincial and federal responsibilities, arrangements exist that allow federal equipment to meet jurisdictional crn number requirements.

  • Thirteen Independent Jurisdictions

Canada has thirteen independent jurisdictions: ten provinces and three territories (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).    Each jurisdiction has a regulatory authority.In many cases, exemptions from registration are outlined in legislation.  In others, regulatory authorities issue signed publications in accordance with its legislation, or in their website’s text, stating exemptions from registration exist in certain circumstances.  Surprisingly, some exemptions seem to be more informal than others.  Each regulatory authority can decide, at their own discretion subject to the pleasure of their jurisdictional government, whether pressure equipment categories or specific designs require registration for use in their region – or not!Jurisdictions don’t always agree with each other about which designs warrant a crn registration requirements and which don’t.  Potentially dangerous equipment does not always require registration!  For example, in Alberta, size on size welded tees and laterals require registration, and often a proof test is mandatory there prior to registration!  However, size on size welded tees and laterals in Saskatchewan reportedly don’t even require registration before use.

“Seriously, despite appearances, unregistered size on size welded tees and laterals that have not been proof tested are really not safer when used in Saskatchewan.”
As strange as this situation in Saskatchewan seems to be, the laws of physics are predictably consistent, and do apply regardless of where you go in Canada.  Seriously, despite appearances, unregistered welded size on size tees and laterals that have not been proof tested are really not safer when used in Saskatchewan.  Equipment exempt from registration is certainly not necessarily safer than registered equipment.Regulators primarily review design applications for registration according to their policies, decide whether to register those designs and, if they don’t register them, give reasons why the designs do not meet code or regulations.

  • Responsibility

Legislation states that jurisdictional regulators are significantly shielded from any responsibility for statutory decisions they make in good faith.  And its common sense that in order to avoid potential conflicts, regulators cannot own or be seen to own any design which they regulate.  This is why regulators ordinarily don’t offer advice about how to fix a design deficiency since, to do so, would imply ownership of the design.Given the above, who is responsible for pressure equipment designs?  Good question since per the explanation above, regulators are not!Simply put, according to legislation, all owners are potentially responsible.  Everyone with care and control over a design is potentially responsible for it, including designers, manufacturers, contractors, vendors, and end users.And, unless professional engineering legislation in a jurisdiction states otherwise, professional engineers are required to approve all pressure equipment designs before use.

“Unless professional engineering legislation in a jurisdiction states otherwise, professional engineers are required to approve all pressure equipment designs before use.”

  • Are Exemptions From Registration Important?

Of course!  But not for the reasons that some might presume.  An exemption is not a ticket to cut corners without consequences.  Safety is always paramount regardless of whether regulatory CRN requirements exist or not. Exemptions do not necessarily mean that exempt equipment is safer.  And responsibility for equipment remains even if it is exempt; responsibility doesn’t disappear.  However, exemptions are still important to properly consider for a couple of reasons, including:


  • Consequences:
    Penalties for offenses under provincial statutes seem to be on the increase.  For example, in Alberta, potential fines are now $100,000 CAD and 6 months in prison for the first offence, increasing to 12 months in prison and $500,000 CAD for second and consecutive offenses.It’s important to not mistakenly presume that your equipment is exempt from registration; and
  • Competition:
    Exemptions can shorten the time required to bring pressure equipment to market.  Registration does take some time, and that time can be particularly disadvantageous if industry is waiting!  Provided that safety is maintained or enhanced, streamlining market access has benefits to all, including consumers, clientele, and the manufacturing industry.

Increasing the speed at which designs can be registered across inter-provincial boundaries is important to consider.  And though it can be related somewhat to exemptions, inter-provincial harmonization is an important topic for another article.
For the time being, just be aware that knowing what exemptions are available will decrease the time required to bring equipment to market, and will increase your competitiveness.

Appendix: Provincial Regulators, Statutes, Regulations, and Publications (with Exemptions)Included below are the web addresses of the jurisdictions, their pressure equipment legislation and publications.  It can be interesting reading!

As time permits, we will publish more articles to highlight the various exemptions available in each region of Canada.  These links can change occasionally but we’ll try to keep them as current as possible. For a complete list of resources provided by regulators, check out their websites.

You’ll likely note after glancing at the contents that some provinces publish more exemptions than others!






2 replies
  1. David Allore
    David Allore says:

    Your website was recently shared by a colleague of mine, and I find the information posted to be very useful. I work for an AIA in the US, and we often provided technical information to our clients related to Canadian pressure vessel laws.

    • CA Sterling
      CA Sterling says:

      Thank you for your comments and I’m glad that we have helped. Please let us know of any CRN related topics that can assist further, and we will post some articles that address them! Have a great day.

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