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MB: New working group formed to deal with regulatory issues

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In June, the CPA and members of the Manitoba Propane Committee (MPC) met with Manitoba Minister for Growth, Enterprise and Trade Blaine Pedersen to discuss challenges and issues with the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC). Of paramount concern was that members felt that OFC practices were causing harm to propane businesses across the province. 

A key result of that meeting was the formation of a working group consisting of the OFC, MPC and the CPA. The working group is mandated to find solutions to issues that were raised with the minister and any issues that may arise on a go forward basis. It would also discuss issues brought forward by the OFC pertaining to the propane industry in Manitoba. The primary objective is to develop solutions to issues and concerns before they affect the growth of the industry in the province.

The CPA is proud that the group has now met three times since early November to discuss MPC-driven issues such as: 
  • requirements for pressure gauges up and downstream of strainers on vaporizers; 
  • venting requirements for relief valves on portable vaporizers in temporary locations;
  • OFC inspector requested alterations to certified or approved equipment; 
  • the use of hose to pipe away relief valves;
  • communications issues regarding approvals, appeals, and industry pertinent information getting to MPC members; and 
  • addressing a perceived regulatory bias with regard to propane equipment inspections and ensuring they are treated on an equal basis with diesel, gasoline and natural gas appliances and equipment.   
The OFC has raised its own issues as well:
  • the need for a construction heater bulletin and proposed checklist;
  • gasfitter and supplier responsibilities for equipment left running with outstanding orders;
  • skids with extended guards for temporary propane installations; and
  • information on OFC’s meeting with SaskPower Gas Inspections on proposed harmonization efforts. 
Other items the Working Group has discussed include: 
  • construction heaters, including clearances, barricades and other fire hazards as well as approvals for the start-up of 1.3M BTU heaters;
  • vaporizer installation requirements and venting of hydrostatic relief valves for certified grain dryers and portable vaporizers; 
  • approval of skids with extended guards for temporary propane installations; 
  • gasfitter and fuel supplier responsibilities; and
  • permit and installation requirements on temporary generators.
To date, information sharing and determination to come to solutions on issues has been cooperative and constructive with our hope that this spirit continues as the Working Group progresses.
 

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