The expression “CSA approved” is often used similarly to the way we use the expressions “Fridge” for a refrigerator or “Kleenex” for a tissue. The term “CSA” (Canadian Standards Association) actually refers to a recognized standard-setting organization, similar to cUL (Underwriters Laboratories) and a number of others recognized by the RBQ (Régie du Bâtiment du Québec).

What you need to know:

As stated in Article 2-024, paragraph 2 of the Canadian Electrical Code – Quebec amendment:

  • “All electrical equipment used in an electrical installation shall be approved for the use for which it is intended. In addition, the use of electrical equipment that has not been approved in an electrical installation or the permanent connection of such equipment to such an installation is prohibited.”

And in Article 2-028 (1):

  • “Electrical equipment that has received certification by a certification organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada that has notified the Board of its accreditation and whose certification seal or label attests to compliance with Canadian standards is considered to be approved.”

For the list of recognized organizations in Quebec, consult the La Régie du bâtiment du Québec.

Stay up to date!

Out of passion or ignorance of the law, many workers improvise as specialists in electrical equipment and “play around with” making control panels or other electrical systems. Beyond the fact that Article 2-024, paragraph 2 of the Canadian Electrical Code states that an electrical installation must be approved, the term “electrical equipment” applies to:

Any equipment, apparatus, device, instrument, accessory, mechanism, material or other thing used or capable of being used in or for the generation …, supply or use of electrical power or energy and which … includes any assembly or combination of materials or objects used or capable of being used or adapted for specific purposes or functions when connected to an electrical installation (translated freely).

This means that simply assembling a group of previously approved parts does not in any way constitute an approved assembly.
The temptation to “jerry-rig” a PLC or control panel may, at first glance, be an attractive solution for many companies… except that, in this case, special approval still needs to be obtained through one of the recognized organizations (see the link above). Following the inspection, you will be informed by a trained evaluator whether your assembly meets standards.

One thing is for sure: the device must be approved… by a recognized organization!

Eric Nadeau
President RES Automation