Use of “approved” electrical equipment

Use of “approved” electrical equipment — new questions and answers

Canadian Corner
Canadian Corner

Although this subject was discussed in IAEI News a few years ago, the electrical industry stakeholders continue to raise questions in this regard.

Six new questions have been selected for this article, and six following answers are provided to these questions:

Question 1

Why only approved equipment must be used in an electrical installation, and what does equipment approval mean?

Answer 1

Rule 2-024 of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I (CE Code) mandates the use of equipment as follows:

Rule 2-024 Use of approved equipment (see Appendices A and B)

1) Electrical equipment used in electrical installations within the jurisdiction of the inspection department shall be approved and shall be of a kind or type and rating approved for the specific purpose for which it is to be employed.”

This means that a legally adopted CE Code requires that in each electrical installation under the jurisdiction of the electrical safety inspection authority, only “approved” equipment must be used. And this equipment must be approved for specific conditions of use at that specific installation. It means that if the electrical equipment at a particular installation is intended for outdoor use or for use in (let us say) Zone 2 hazardous location, then the equipment must be suitable for that specific purpose. The electrical designer would have to specify the appropriate type of electrical equipment accordingly.

Appendix B Note on Subrule 2-024(1) offers the following clarification on this requirement:


Appendix B Note on Rule 2-024 (1)

It is intended by this Rule to emphasize that only electrical equipment approved for the application should be used under the provisions of this Code. “Approved” is a defined term that includes certification of electrical equipment to the applicable product Standards or other means that conform to the requirements of the regulatory authority.

 Code users should be aware that when electrical equipment is subjected to field modification by means other than an approved field installable kit, such modification may void the original approval of the equipment. Thus, it is also intended by this Rule that upon completion of any field modification that voids the original approval of the equipment, the equipment should be made approved in accordance with provisions of the regulatory authority (i.e., in accordance with CSA Model Code SPE-1000 or other programs accepted by the participating regulatory authority).”

The CE Code provides a very comprehensive definition of the “approved” equipment in Section 0 “Definitions,” as follows:

Approved (as applied to electrical equipment) —

1) equipment that has been certified by a certification organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada in accordance with the requirements of

    1. a) CSA Group Standards; or
    2. b) other standards that have been developed by a standards development organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, or other recognized documents, where CSA


Group Standards do not exist or are not applicable, provided that such other standards or other recognized documents

    1. i) are correlated with provisions of the CE Code, Part I; and
    2. ii) do not create duplication with standards already listed in Appendix A; or

2) equipment that conforms to the requirements of the regulatory authority (see Appendix B).”


This definition in Clause (1) above means that the electrical equipment “approval” manifests certification of such equipment to a relevant CSA safety standard for electrical equipment (to a Part II standard), and that such certification could be conducted only by such organizations, which have been accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) – to certify a wide range of electrical equipment to the CSA product standards (to Part II standards, which are listed in Annex A.1 of Appendix A to the CE Code.) This also means that if there are no CSA standards being published for certain types of electrical equipment (i.e., electrical equipment for which CSA standards do not exist or are not applicable, such as equipment comprising a fire alarm system, etc.), then this type of equipment could be approved by means of it’s certification to the product standards, which are developed and published not by CSA, but by other standards development organizations, such as ULC, UL, etc. These equipment standards (developed and published not by the CSA) are listed in Annex A.2 of the CE Code, and their listing in Annex A.2 is subjected to the following conditions:


These product standards (developed and published not by the CSA) could be listed in Annex A.2 if they:

  • are correlated with provisions of the CE Code, Part I; and
  • do not create duplication with the CSA safety standards already listed in Annex A.1 of the CE Code (Part II standards).


Question 2

Are there other means available for equipment approval?

Answer 2

Clause (2) in the definition “approved” shown above relates to this specific question. When a piece of equipment cannot be designed, constructed, tested, and certified to any of the standards that are published by the CSA or by other standards development organizations and listed in Appendix A of the CE Code, approval of this electrical equipment could be performed by means of a field evaluation or special sections in accordance with CSA Model Code SPE-1000, and such field evaluation/special inspection activity must be conducted by special inspection bodies, also accredited by the Standards Council of Canada – to perform special inspections. Criteria for such approval by means of field evaluation/special inspection is clearly stated in the Scope of the CSA Model Code SPE-1000 as follows:

1 Scope



This Model Code provides marking and test/construction requirements for the field evaluation of electrical equipment by an inspection body, where certification of that equipment is impracticable or otherwise unavailable.



Field-evaluated equipment found to be in conformity with the requirements of this Model Code is considered to be acceptable to the AHJ.



Notwithstanding the requirements of Clauses 1.1.1 and 1.1.2, field evaluation is not intended to serve as a substitute for certification.



The following are examples of where this Model Code applies:

    1. a) custom-built equipment for special applications;
    2. b) equipment manufactured on a non-repetitive basis;
    3. c) equipment sold in quantities of not more than 500 on a national basis, per model, per year, per inspection body;
    4. d) equipment not obtainable as “certified” under a regular certification program;
    5. e) equipment already installed or ready for use on-site and awaiting acceptance by the AHJ;
    6. f) complete systems or subassemblies that are all available for examination and testing during the evaluation process; and
    7. g) other electrical equipment as determined by the AHJ.

Note: Where it is unclear or there is uncertainty as to whether the electrical equipment is to be field evaluated under the classifications of this Clause, the AHJ should be consulted for clarification.”

In addition to Appendix B Note on Rule 2-024 in respect to field evaluations in accordance with SPE 1000 (see the answer to question 1 above), Appendix B Note on the CE Code definition “approved” offers the following clarification:


It is intended by this definition that electrical equipment installed under provisions of this Code is required to be certified to the applicable CSA product Standards as listed in Appendix A. Where such CSA Standards do not exist or are not applicable, it is intended by this definition that such electrical equipment be certified to other applicable Standards, such as ULC Standards. Code users should be aware that fire alarm system equipment is deemed to be approved when it is certified to the applicable product Standards listed in CAN/ULC-S524.

 This definition is also intended to reflect the fact that equipment approval could be accomplished via a field evaluation procedure in conformance with CSA Model Code SPE-1000, where special inspection bodies are recognized by participating provincial and territorial authorities having jurisdiction. For new products that are not available at the time this Code is adopted, the authority having jurisdiction may permit the use of products that comply with the requirements set out by that jurisdiction.“

It should be noted that each provincial/territorial electrical safety authority has a unique prerogative to accept field evaluation/special inspection bodies in their specific areas of jurisdiction, and the list of accepted special inspection bodies (in addition to the list of the SCC accredited certification organizations), is usually published by the respective AHJ’s on their websites.


Question 3

What type of equipment does not have to be “approved” in accordance with the CE Code?

Answer 3

Subrule 2-024(2) provides a notwithstanding clause to the requirement of Subrule 2-024 for equipment approval as follows:

2) Notwithstanding Subrule 1), equipment described in Rule 16-222 1) a) shall not be required to be approved. “

This notwithstanding clause means that some electrical equipment is not required to be approved but may be simply accepted by the AHJ for installation under provisions of Rule 16-222(109a) of the CE Code as follows:


16-222 Equipment located on the load side of overcurrent protection, transformers, or devices having Class 2 outputs (see Appendix B)

1) Equipment located on the load side of overcurrent protection, transformers, or devices having Class 2 outputs shall

    1. a) for Class 2 circuits operating at not more than 42.4 V peak, be acceptable for the particular

application; and

    1. b) for Class 2 circuits operating at more than 42.4 V peak, comply with Rule 2-024 (1).

2) Notwithstanding Subrule 1) a), lighting products, electromedical equipment, equipment for hazardous locations, and thermostats incorporating heat anticipators shall comply with Rule 2-024 (1). “

So, it could be seen from Subrule 16-222(1)(a) above that except as mandated by Subrule 16-222(2), electrical equipment located on the load side of overcurrent protection, transformers, or devices having Class 2 outputs, for Class 2 circuits operating at not more than 42.4 V peak, could be acceptable for the application without approval. Otherwise, all equipment used in electrical installations in accordance with the CE Code must be made approved by means of certification or special inspection.


Question 4

What does represent evidence of equipment approval?

Answer 4

Every approved piece of electrical equipment must bear a certification monogram of the certification organization that conducted equipment certification or must bear a special inspection label of the special inspection body which performed a special inspection of that piece of equipment.

Rule 2-100(1)(m) of the CE Code offers the following requirement in this regard:

2-100 Marking of equipment (see Appendix B)

1) Each piece of electrical equipment shall bear those of the following markings necessary to identify the equipment and ensure that it is suitable for the particular installation:

    1. a) the maker’s name, trademark, or other recognized symbol of identification;
    2. b) catalogue number or type;
    3. c) voltage;
    4. d) rated load amperes;


    1. l) short-circuit current rating or withstand rating;
    2. m) evidence of approval; or
    3. n) other markings necessary to ensure safe and proper operation. “


Question 5

Is equipment/appliance that is not installed in accordance with the CE Code (which is cord and plug connected and usually sold to consumers online or in department stores) required to be approved?

Answer 5

Each provincial/territorial safety standards acts or regulations mandate the sale and use of only approved electrical products.

For example, Clause 69(2)(a) of the BC Safety Standards mandates the following:

69. Operation and use of regulated products

  69(2) A person must not use or possess a regulated product unless
(a) it bears a certification mark

It means that a person who sells, buys, or uses a cord-connected appliance or a piece of equipment, is responsible for ensuring that such cord-connected appliance or piece of electrical equipment is “approved.”


Question 6

Can a piece of “approved” (i.e., certified or field evaluated) equipment be rejected by the local electrical safety authority (by electrical inspections department)?

Answer 6

Rule 2-026 of the CE Code is specifically dedicated to this subject. This Rule states the following:

2-026 Powers of rejection (see Appendix B)

Even though approval has previously been granted, the inspection department may reject, at any time, any electrical equipment under any of the following conditions:

    1. a) the equipment is substandard with respect to the sample on which approval was granted;
    2. b) the conditions of use indicate that the equipment is not suitable; or
      c) the terms of the approval agreement are not being carried out
      . “

This means that the AHJ may reject any piece of equipment which bears evidence of approval (i.e., certification monogram or Special Inspection label) if such piece of electrical equipment is substandard in comparison with the example, based on which approval was originally granted, if the equipment is not suitable for the condition of use (i.e., equipment certified for dry location is used outdoors, etc.), or conditions of the approval agreement between the manufacturer and certification organization/special inspection body, has not been fulfilled.

Hopefully, these six examples of questions and answers help to clarify this subject. However, as usual, local AHJ’s responsible for the acceptance of electrical equipment should always be consulted when specific issues or concerns arise on this subject.

Ark Tsisserev
Ark Tsisserev is president of EFS Engineering Solutions, Ltd., an electrical and fire safety consulting company, and is a registered professional engineer with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Prior to becoming a consultant, Ark was an electrical safety regulator for the city of Vancouver. He is currently the chair of the Technical Committee for the Canadian Electrical Code and represents the CE Code Committee on the CMP-1 of the National Electrical Code. Ark can be reached by e-mail at: His company web site is: