This is the third of a series of articles detailing significant changes for the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code Part I (CE Code). A full copy of the CE Code is available at

Section 18

The first change in Section 18 can be found in the special terminology for hazardous locations. The definitions for seals have been re-organized and modified starting with the deletion of the 2018 definitions for cable seal and conduit seal. Seals are now divided into three main types: explosion seals, flammable fluid migration seals, and process seals.  Explosion seals are intended to prevent the ignition of an explosive gas atmosphere outside the enclosure, to prevent the passage of an explosion from one portion of the conduit system to another, and to minimize the passage of flammable fluids at atmospheric pressure. A flammable fluid migration seal installed in a cable or conduit is intended to minimize the transmission of flammable fluids at or near atmospheric pressure. A process seal is one or more seals intended to prevent the migration of flammable process fluids into electrical equipment. Process sealing is further divided into the following four types: primary process seal, secondary process seal, dual process seal equipment, and single process seal equipment. A primary process seal, previously know as a primary seal is directly in contact with the process fluids under conditions of normal use. The secondary process seal previously know as a secondary seal is a seal that comes into contact with process fluids only in the case of a primary process seal failure. Dual process seal equipment consists of a primary process seal and one or more secondary process seals installed in series that would require the failure of at least two of the process seals to expose the wiring system to migrating process fluids. And finally, the single process seal equipment consists of a single sealing structure that in the event of failure would expose the wiring system to migrating process fluids. Throughout Section 18 corresponding editorial changes where made to alien the wording with this new definitions.

A new Subrule 7) has been added to Rule 18-050 Electrical equipment to recognize equipment marked for use in Class/Division locations to be used in locations classified according to the Zone based location classification as permitted by Table 18 where the applicable Group of the Division based location classification corresponds to the equivalent Group within the Zone based location classification as specified in the new Table 18A Equivalent Zone and Division Group classifications.

A new inserted Rule 18-062 Optical fiber cable allows optical fiber cable types OFNP, OFCP, OFNR, OFCR, OFNG, OFCG, OFN and OFC to be installed in all hazardous locations, this subrule also mandates that provided that the installation meets applicable sealing requirements of Section 18.

Renumbered Rule 18-070 Seals has two new subrules. Sub-rule 3) requires permanent identification when flammable fluid migration seals are used. Subrule 4) now mandates that field installed seals must be accessible after the installation, that splices and taps not be installed in fittings intended to be filled with sealing compound, and that acceptable means must be provided to periodic drain or prevent accumulation of liquid or other condensed vapour from being trapped within enclosures for control equipment or at any point in the raceway system.

Rule 18-092 Wiring methods, Zone 0 has editorial changes in Subrule 1), a modification to Subrule 2) that all cables with a continuous metallic or non-metallic outer jacket for one or more circuits that are not intrinsically safe and passing through a Zone 0 location be marked “HL”.

Rule 18-094 Sealing, Zone 0 now requires the seals to be installed at the first cable termination point after entry into a Zone 0 location be of the flammable fluid migration type, in addition where conduit is used no box, coupling, or fitting is allowed between the flammable fluid migration seal and the point at which the conduit crosses the Zone 0 boundary. The most significant change to this rule is the deletion of the exception that allowed a rigid unbroken conduit that passes completely through a Zone 0 area.

Rule 18-102 Wiring methods, Zone 1 has been clarified detailing that threaded rigid metal conduit requires explosion-proof, flameproof “d”, or flameproof “db” fittings when terminating in a Zone 1 location.

Changes for Rule 18-104 Sealing, Zone 1 include requirements that seals for conduit systems are now mandated to be explosion seals, and these seals must be installed as close as practicable to the enclosure, or as marked and no further than 450 mm from the enclosure. For conduit run with or without couplings and without any equipment, box, fitting, union, tee, or similar device installed entering of leaving a Zone 1 location the explosion seals is required to be within 1 m external to the Zone 1 boundary. Where cable is used, the seal at the first cable termination within the Zone 1 area must now be a flammable fluid migration seal, and explosion seals mandated where the cable enters an enclosure required to be explosion-proof, flameproof “d”, or flameproof “db”.

In Rule 18-106 Motors and generators, Zone 1 the increased safety “e” motor increased safety “eb”.

Rule 18-150 Equipment, Zone 2 locations Capacitors have been removed from the list of ordinary equipment that can be installed Zone 2 locations. The next change to Rule 18-150 is the replacement of “non-explosion-proof or non-flameproof enclosures housing” to “Type 4 or 4X enclosure, or an IP65 or higher enclosure” for non-sparking in normal operation equipment not used for heating purposes. The final change for Rule 18-150 is a new Subrule 4) that allows a non-hazardous location motors and generators with a shaft bonding device typically required for electric motors operating on variable

adjustable speed drives, to be installed in a Zone 2 location, provided that the device is used for the purpose of maintaining the rotor at ground potential, and that the potential discharge energy is determined to be non-incendive and authenticated by the person assuming responsibility for the calculation.

Rule 18-154 Sealing, Zone 2 Seals in this rule have been changed to flammable fluid migration seals for conduit that leaves a Zone 2 location, and to explosion seals for cables or conduit the enter an enclosure that is mandated to be explosion-proof or flameproof “d”, or flameproof “db”, in addition explosion seals are required to be within 50 mm from the enclosure for field drilled conduit entries.

Armoured cables such as FAS, FAS90, FAS105, FAS150, and FAS200 fire alarm and signal cable have been added to Rule 18-152 Wiring methods, Zone 2 and Rule 18-252 Wiring methods, Zone 22, as an acceptable wiring method in Zone 2 and Zone 22 locations.

Section 20

The significant change is Section 20 is the replacement of “dispensing” to “vehicle fuel dispensers” including a new definition for dispensing system that reads: “a system, consisting of tank, pump and motor, propane dispenser, and associated piping and supports, for the storage, metering, and dispensing of liquid propane into containers”. These changes are to align the CE Code with the CSA Standard B149.2 Propane storage and handling code.

Section 22

Section 22 has two main changes, first was created by the Section 22 Task Force that removes code duplication and aligns wording with the general sections of the code. The second change is the addition of a new subsection for farm buildings housing livestock with Rules from 22-800 to 22-808.

Rule 22-802 Special terminology has new definitions that read:

Wash-down – Cleaning that includes direct spray of liquid under pressure

Speciality type equipment – Agricultural equipment designed and used for a specific and unique purpose.

Suitably cut off – an area that is separated from and rendered impermeable to an adjoining area with no means of liquid, gas, or vapour communication between the areas at atmospheric pressure.

Livestock – farm animals including, but not limited to, cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, ratites, cultured fish, fur-bearing animals, game animals, game bird, deer, elk, or bees.


Rule 22-804 Classification of areas classifies farm buildings housing livestock as Category 1 and Category 2 and recognises locations in a farm building housing livestock that are suitably cut off from Category 1 or Category 2 to be considered dry locations.

Rule 22-806 Electrical equipment, luminaires and receptacles Subrule 1) directs code users to Rule 22-102 to 22-108 for installation of speciality type equipment and ventilation fans. Subrule 2) mandates wire connectors to incorporate anti-corrosion compound for electrical equipment is permanently connected to an outlet. Subrule 3) requires overcurrent devices installed in locations suitably cut off from Category 1 or Category 2 locations, or as n alternative installed in a suitable enclosure with continuous positive pressure ventilation as defined in Rule 22-702. Subrule 4) refers to Rule 2-400 for equipment like receptacles and general use switches, installed where wash-down operation is preformed.  Subrule 5) does not allow pendant lampholder in farm buildings housing livestock and Subrule 6) requires shatter-resistant lamps where exposed.

Rule 22-808 Wiring methods In addition to moving requirements from 2018 CE Code Rule 22-204, Rule 22-808 does not allow electrical metallic tubing to be used as a wiring method for farm buildings housing livestock, and requires grounding and bonding conductors, and connections to be protected from corrosion and that raceways, fittings, junction boxes, cable assemblies and associated connectors, devices, and device boxes and covers, be of the corrosion-resistant type.

Section 24

The definitions for “emergency power system” and “emergency supply” where replace with a new definition for “emergency electrical power supply system” for consistency with the definition in the CSA standard Z32, that reads; one or more electrical generator sets located on health care facility premises, intended to be available if all other supplies fail, and capable of supplying all loads of essential electrical system. In addition, the use of this term resulted in editorial modifications to Rules 24-304, and 24-306. The other change in Section 24 is in Rule 24-304 Transfer switches where the applicable standards for automatic transfer switches are identified as CSA C22.2 No 178.1 for low voltage automatic transfer switches and CSA C22.2 No 178.3 for high voltage automatic transfer switches.

Section 26

The first change is Section 26 was the deletion of Rule 26-008 Sprinklered equipment – to provide consistency between installations of electrical equipment in sprinklered service rooms and installation of electrical equipment in sprinklered buildings outside service rooms and to address a conflict in terminology between the CE Code and the National Building Code. The second change is in Subrule 2) of Rule 26-012 Dielectric liquid-filled equipment — Indoors. The separation of dielectric liquid-filled electrical equipment now only applies if the equipment contains dielectric liquid with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Rule 26-256 Conductor size for transformers Subrule 4) has been modified providing a clarification the Rules 14-100 and 14-104 apply to transformer secondary conductors when the transformer primary or secondary overcurrent is rated graeter than 125% of the transformer rated current.

The storage battery Rules 26-500 to 26-514 were moved to the Rule 64-800 series of rules that will be addresses in future article.

Rule 26-602 Panelboards in dwelling units was modified for clarity without changing the requirements.

Newly inserted Rule 26-652 Branch circuits below ground level in areas designated as flood hazard zones was proposed as part of the Climate Change Adaptation Project, submitted by the Task Group on Flood and Drought. In areas designated as flood hazard zones defined as a spatially delineated area designated in accordance with the National Building Code of Canada or applicable local legislation as being subjected to a flood hazard, ground fault protection is mandated for all branch circuits located below ground level. It should be noted that the rule applies to all installations (not just residential) and that the ground fault setting is to be sufficient to allow normal operation of connected loads under normal conditions. This ground fault protection is not required to be Class A ground fault protection.

Rule 26-652 Branch circuits for residential occupancies Item f) that used to read; “the ampere rating of the branch circuit wiring supplying receptacles with CSA configuration 5-20R shall be not less than 20 A”, was deleted as a duplication for existing Rule 26-700 2) that has the same requirement.

Renumbered Rule 26-656 Branch circuits for dwelling units Items b) and c) have been inserted as an exception to Item a) that will now allow branch circuits from a main dwelling unit to supply equipment and outlets in a dwelling unit that has been created by subdivision of the main dwelling unit, and where a panelboard is installed in each of the dwelling units branch circuits from the main dwelling unit may be used for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed in the dwelling unit that has been created by subdivision of the main dwelling unit. This exception also requires clear marking at each panelboard indicating where the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are supplied from.

2018 CE Code Rule 26-724 Receptacles for dwelling units  Item e) was deleted and the requirements moved to Rule 26-700 General (Receptacle) as Subrule 8) This requirement now mandates that all 5-15R and 5-20R receptacles (not just residential occupancies) are not allowed in front of a sink or directly behind a sink except where the distance between the wall and the inside edge of the sink exceeds 450 mm.

2018 CE Code Rule 26-722 Protection of residential occupancy receptacles installed outdoors by a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type was deleted and the requirements moved to Rule 26-704 Protection of receptacles by a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type as Subrule 2). This requirement now mandates Class A ground fault protection for all outdoor receptacles installed within 2.5 m of finished grade (not just residential occupancies).

New Rule 26-712 Sump pump receptacles requires sump pump receptacles installed in building located in a flood hazard zone to marked as suitable for submersion or located above the flood elevation.

Rule 26-720 General (Receptacles for residential occupancies) now recognises a controlled outlet duplex receptacle as an outlet that has an integral switching means to allow remote switching of the connected load. Item k) allows a controlled outlet duplex receptacle to be used as a switched duplex receptacle. Also “public stairways” has been deleted from Item m) this means that receptacles are no longer required in public stairways in buildings of residential occupancy. This change was to align with the National Building Code requirement to maintain integrity of exits.

In the second article in this series of articles changes for Table 19 were explained. One of these changes for Table 19 was to move requirements from the Table 19 to Rules 26-954 Deep well submersible pumps installed in wells and 26-956 Submersible pumps installed in bodies of water and to recognise submersible pump cables in the rules and to replace “plastic water pipe” with HDPE conduit to align with Rule 12-012.

The next article will continue with Section 64.

Steve Douglas
Steve Douglas is an IAEI International Past President. He is also the Senior Technical Codes Specialist for QPS Evaluation Services. Steve is the Immediate Past Vice Chair of the CE Code Part I, Chair of CE Code Part I Subcommittees for Section 2, 12, and 84, and a member on Sections 8, 40, 64, 68, 76, 78 and Appendix A. In addition, Steve is the Chair of the CSA Subcommittees for Standards C22.2 No. 273 Cablebus, C22.2 No. 327 HDPE Conduit, C22.6 No. 1, Electrical Inspection Code for Existing Residential Occupancies committee, SPE-1000 Working Group the Past Chair of the Technical Committee on Wind Turbines, and a member on committees for the Objective Based Industrial Electrical Code, Safety Management Systems, Energy Storage Systems, Solar Photovoltaic Modules, Industrial control panels and assemblies, Industrial Machinery, Photovoltaic Cable, Fuel Cells, Wind Turbines, Distribution transformers, Outlet Boxes, and Wiring Fittings Hardware and Positioning Devices.