Ontario Propane Safety Panel Report Released
McGuinty Government Commits To Further Improve Safety At Propane Plants
New standards will be implemented to improve Ontario's safety as a result of recommendations from an independent expert panel on propane safety in Ontario.
The expert panel of Dr. Michael Birk and Ms. Susana Katz found that Ontario has a strong propane safety system in place with multiple safeguards, but recommended ways to further improve safety and enhance transparency and accountability.
The report contains 40 recommendations in three broad categories:
- New obligations for propane facility operators
- Stronger enforcement capabilities for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority
- Improved training, accountability and transparency
- On August 28, 2008, the Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services, Harinder Takhar, appointed Dr. Michael Birk and Ms. Susana Katz, independent experts to look at the storage, handling, location, and transport of propane in Ontario and report to him.
- The review started on September 8, 2008, and panel members received submissions and suggestions from a wide range of participants including the propane industry, municipalities, ratepayers, emergency responders and the insurance industry.
- The McGuinty government has already taken additional measures to enhance safety. In August, the Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services asked the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) to audit propane facilities.
- Phase 1 of the plan involved a re-audit of all propane facilities with permanent storage capacity in excess of 5,000 U.S. water gallons. TSSA?s audit of these large facilities was completed by the end of August 2008.
- Phase 2 involves an audit of propane facilities generally storing less than 5,000 U.S. water gallons and should be completed by December 31, 2008.
- More than 300,000 businesses and households in Ontario , many in rural areas, consume roughly 650 millions kilograms of propane every year to fuel barbecues and vehicles, and provide heat for construction sites, farms, and rural homes.
“I would like to acknowledge the quality of the work done by Dr. Birk and Ms Katz. Our government is committed to seeing that Ontario has the highest standards and best systems in place and I will move quickly to implement recommendations that will further enhance safety.”
“Having looked at the propane safety system, we conclude that the building blocks for propane safety are in place in Ontario and have served the people of this province well over the years. But improvement is always possible and our recommendations address possible ways to achieve this.”
“The OFM has had a preliminary look at the Propane Safety Review Report and we are supportive of the direction the report has taken. We believe that it is a good step forward in improving safety related to propane facilities in Ontario. We want to recognize the hard work of the Safety Review Panel and their efforts to improve public safety in the province.”