Apr 21 2015 by Ray Stroud, PVE-8986


As is common with other areas of Canadian pressure regulations, each province has its own refrigeration requirements. The differences between provinces are large, so do not use previous experience from one province as a guide to new projects in another. Be especially careful interpreting exemptions. An exemption from registration can still require you to meet ASME B31 codes, use registered components and get Authorized Inspector sign-off. An exemption to an act removes all of these requirements.

As an example of the differences between an exemption to registration, and an exemption to an act consider the exemption to registration of piping 3″ or less in B.C.: (from Pressure Piping Registration and Inspection)

3. The standards governing the design and construction of all pressure piping systems including piping that is NPS 3 or less are the ASME Code for Pressure Piping, B31 series. The design of pressure piping that is NPS 3 or less does not require registration however the piping system must comply with all other requirements of the Regulation and construction code.

This is an example of an exemption to registration, not the removal of the need to follow all other provincial rules. If in doubt about the need to follow provincial acts, or to register your refrigeration system, ask the jurisdiction for an answer in writing. If you get an exemption, keep the answer on permanent file to avoid future confusion. And finally, check with your customer to determine if they have CRN requirements even if the destination province does not.

British Columbia

Per the B.C. Refrigeration Installation Permit Application The requirement to register refrigeration piping, and the need to follow all other B.C. code rules varies by size of the plant and the refrigerant used:

Inspection is per chart on page 2 of the form. This is an exemption from registration, not an exemption from the act.


Per the Alberta Pressure Equipment Exemption Order refrigeration equipment not exceeding 10.5kW is exempt:

(2) The Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, the Pressure Welders Regulation and the Power Engineers Regulation do not apply to the following:

(r) a pressure piping system and the machinery and equipment ancillary to the pressure piping system, if the machinery and equipment

(i) vaporize, compress and liquefy refrigerants in the refrigerating cycle, and

(ii) have a refrigerating capacity not exceeding 10.5 kilowatts;

This is an exemption to the act.


Per the Saskatchewan The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Act, 1999 refrigeration equipment not exceeding 10.5kW is exempt (10.55 kW = 3 Tons refrigeration / day)

3(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this Act applies to all boilers, pressure vessels, plants, pressure piping systems and fittings except:

(o) a refrigeration plant that has a capacity of three tonnes or less of refrigeration in 24 hours;

This is an exemption to the act.


Per the scope of the Manitoba Steam and Pressure Plants Act Refrigeration plant requirements vary by construction method and refrigerant (100 tons is 351.7 kW and 50 tons is 175.9 kW).

Factory-assembled refrigeration units that generate less than 100 tons of refrigerating capacity and site-assembled refrigeration units that generate less than 50 tons of refrigerating capacity are exempt, unless the refrigerant is ammonia.

This is an exemption to the act.


Refrigeration Systems Rated 125 kW or Less

Paragraph 5.2 of the CSA-B52-05 (R2009) Including B52S1-09 states the various standards that are acceptable for use in Ontario refrigeration piping without requiring CRN registration. Items rated 125kW or less do not need a CRN if the system is built and certified to one of the following standards:

  • CSA C22.2 No. 63; (Household refrigerators or freezers)
  • CSA C22.2 No. 92; (Dehumidifiers)
  • CSA C22.2 No. 117; (Room air conditioners)
  • CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 120; (Refrigeration equipment)
  • CSA C22.2 No. 128; (Vending machine)
  • CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 236; (Heating and cooling equipment)

For other items, the exemption is 3 Ton (11 kW) per the Ontario Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 a refrigeration piping for system > 3 Tons (11 kW) capacity needs to be registered.

2. (1) This Regulation applies to the design, construction, maintenance, use, operation, repair and service of boilers, pressure vessels and piping. O. Reg. 220/01, s. 2 (1).

(2) This Regulation does not apply to,

(i) a refrigeration piping that has a capacity of three tons (11 kW) or less of refrigeration;

This is an exemption to the act.


Per the Quebec Regulation respecting pressure vessels, piping in air conditioning systems less than 20 kW does not require registration.

3 Sections 14, 16 and 18 of the Act do not apply to the installation of the following vessels nor to an addition to or modification of their piping:

(4) the components of a refrigeration plant whose total compressor motor power is 20 kW or less.

This is an exemption to the act.

New Brunswick

The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, NB Reg 84-174 does not provide exemptions for refrigeration systems. Contact ACI or N.B. for guidance on your project.

Nova Scotia

Per the Boiler and Pressure Equipment Regulations made under Section 49 of the Technical Safety Act refrigeration plants under 11kW do not need registration.

Products exempted from Act and regulations 4 (1) All of the following products are exempt under subsection 6(2) of the Act from the Act and these regulations:

(h) a refrigeration plant that has a common, connected refrigerant with a maximum output capacity within a 24-hour period of 11 kW (3 tons) or less;

This is an exemption to the act.

Prince Edward Island

According to the Chapter B-5 Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act Regulations refrigeration plants less than 60kW do not need to be registered, but the piping shall follow all requirements of the regulations:

5.17 The following piping shall be considered pressure piping subject to all the requirements of these regulations: (c) piping to carry refrigerants, anhydrous ammonia, propane and similar gases;

Designs Not Required to be Registered

5.30 The following pressure plant designs are not required to be submitted for registration unless required by the Chief Inspector but shall otherwise comply with the regulations:

(c) refrigeration plants that do not exceed 60 kW;

This is an exemption from registration, not an exemption from the act.


Per the Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Compressed Gas Regulations under the Public Safety Act. Refrigeration systems 10.5kW or less are exempt:

3. (1) These regulations apply to all steam and hot water boilers, pressure vessels, heat exchangers, air receivers, pressure plants, pressure piping systems, compressed gas systems and other pressure vessels or fittings referred to in the Act or defined in these regulations and to all power engineers, refrigeration and compressor operators, pressure welders, gas personnel and medical gas installers.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), these regulations do not apply to

(k) a refrigerating system that has a motive rating of 10.5 kilowatts or less.

[subsection 3 is referenced form subsection 2, but does not apply to refrigeration systems, it is included here for completeness} (3) Pressure vessels of 50 litres or less in capacity in the following categories are subject to all requirements of the Act and regulations:

(a) steam jacketed sterilizers;

(b) autoclaves; and

(c) steam jacketed kettles.

This is an exemption to the act for small refrigeration systems. Larger plants can be exempt from registration, but are subject to the act:

Calculation of kilowatt rating: 13. The total kilowatt rating of a registered (c) refrigeration plant is the sum of the kilowatt rating of the refrigeration systems when the sum exceeds 75 kilowatts or 450 kilowatts when a plant uses only Group A1 refrigerants;


According to the Boiler and Pressure Vessels Act of Yukon, any refrigeration system less than or equal to 10.5 kW is exempt:

(2) This Act or any regulation made under this Act does not apply to: h) any pressure piping system and machinery and equipment ancillary thereto by which refrigerants are vaporized, compressed and liquefied in the refrigerating cycle and that has a capacity of 10.5 kilowatts or less;

This is an exemption to the act.


Technical Standards and Safety Act – Nunavut Legislation

Note: The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Act is in the process of being repealed and replaced by the Technical Standards & Safety Act.

North West Territories

Per the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act R.S.N.W.T. 1988,c.B-2 Refrigeration plants less than or equal to 11kW are exempt from registration:

2. (1) This Act does not apply to

(d) a refrigeration plant having a capacity of 11 kW or less of refrigeration in 24 hours.

This is an exemption to the act.