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In 2018, Ontario’s Provincial Auditor General conducted an audit of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) – the first of its kind for a delegated authority -- and her full report can be found here. TSSA has spent the past year responding to the many recommendations in the AG’s report. CEO Bonnie Rose is moving to transform the agency from an enforcement-centric entity to one that will more proactively work with its regulated communities to promote safe practices and increase compliance. In their own terms, TSSA is transitioning to become an “Outcomes Based Regulator.” HRAI and other stakeholders have for many years encouraged TSSA to adopt a “risk-based regulation” approach and despite official commitments to do just that, there has been little to show for it. This time, it appears that the commitment to change will bear fruit.

At a recent meeting with the Natural Gas Advisory Council, (chaired by HRAI’s Martin Luymes), it was emphasized that TSSA must ensure it provides regular updates to the many small business owners regulated by the agency, to ensure they are aware of the new approach, once it is introduced. TSSA has committed to engaging with stakeholders like HRAI and its members to seek input regarding changes to their business model which could include changes to licensing fees and a more proactive, but targeted inspection process. Over the coming months, HRAI will work to keep members informed and aware of TSSA’s given the connection it has with the HVACR sector. Members are encouraged to sign up to receive TSSA’s e-newsletter: https://www.tssa.org/en/index.aspx

HRAI will continue to work proactively and productively with TSSA to address ongoing opportunities to better align various regulations and to reduce those which are burdensome for businesses while ensuring safety remains a priority.

At the NGAC meeting on September 27th, stakeholders were also reminded again about the existence of TSSA’s Ombudsman Office. The TSSA Ombudsman, Sandra Cooke, offers regulated communities “an independent and confidential means to engage on all types of issues, including reporting misconduct without fear of retaliation.” This role exists to assist stakeholders in resolving or addressing any issue – which may include complaints about inspectors or interpretations -- prior to initiating more formalized processes. In addition to this mechanism, TSSA also offers a “whistleblower” service that allows anyone to submit information (anonymously, if desired) about unsafe practices or regulatory non-compliance.

Find out more about this important role and resource here.

For more information about Ontario issues, contact Dorothy McCabe at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 274 or e-mail: dmccabe@hrai.ca.