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Venting of Solid Fuel (Pellet) Burning Appliances

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Resolution Category: 
Provincial Scope 19
Adopted - Expired
Okotoks, Town of
Active Clauses: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association request that the Government of Alberta, in collaboration with the Safety Codes Council, develop and administer the necessary amending regulations assuring all Albertans that the exhaust venting from solid fuel (pellet) burning appliances will satisfy minimum requirements by reference to both (a) horizontal distance of the flue pipe from an adjoining residence and (b) above-grade height of the exhaust flue.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS Alberta Municipal Affairs is responsible for the development of the Alberta Building Code, as established by the Safety Codes Council and published by the National Research Council of Canada;

WHEREAS Alberta Municipal Affairs and local municipalities are responsible for the proper administration of the Alberta Building Code;

WHEREAS residential solid fuel burning appliances are regulated under the Alberta Building Code which in turn references CA/CSA B365, the “installation code for solid-fuel-burning appliances and equipment”;

WHEREAS Section 5.6.1 of CA/CSA B365 provides that the termination of a sidewall vent serving a pelletburning appliance shall be located to avoid interference with or damage to adjacent (residential) properties;

WHEREAS a reasonable interpretation of Section 5.6.1 of CA/CSA B365 would require that “interference with an adjoining property” be determined by reference to both (a) horizontal distance of the flue pipe from an adjoining residence and (b) height of the exhaust flue pipe (by way of example, 2.1 m above grade);

WHEREAS pursuant to the provisions of Section 7 of the Municipal Government Act, Statues of Alberta,
RSA 2000 and amendments thereto, municipalities may pass a bylaw for municipal purpose respecting the safety, health and welfare of people and the protection of people and property;

WHEREAS though accepted as complying with Provincial code requirements, Town of Okotoks municipal building permitting procedures were interpreted by Council for the Town of Okotoks to inadequately ensure that solid fuel (pellet) burning appliances were exhausted sufficiently above grade;

WHEREAS Council for the Town of Okotoks passed a municipal bylaw in 2009, prospectively governing the venting of solid fuel (pellet) burning appliances within municipal boundaries, to assure the safe exhaust of carcinogenic volatilized products associated with the combustion of solid fuels, specifically by reference to a mandated minimum height of the exhaust flue pipe; and

WHEREAS His Worship, the Mayor and Councillors for the Town of Okotoks remain concerned for the
health of local residents to whom the 2009 bylaw cannot be retroactively extended and more importantly, for the health of Albertans generally.

Government Response: 

Nov 23, 2011 – Municipal Affairs

With respect to a municipality passing a bylaw to address the venting of burning appliances, it should be noted that any bylaw that purports to regulate a matter already addressed under the Safety Codes Act would be considered inoperative and unenforceable.

Solid fuel burning appliances must be certified to an Underwriter Laboratories of Canada (ULC) standard, which is referenced in the Alberta Building Code, in order to be used in Alberta. Other provinces and territories also require these appliances to meet this same standard. Venting of these appliances must be done in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B365, which sets minimum venting requirements. This CSA standard is also referenced in the building codes used by other provinces and territories. The CSA standard provides for certified appliances to be installed according to manufacturer instructions. Manufacturer instructions may vary but they must be consistent with and not less than the minimum requirements in the standard.

To change the current codes or standards referred to in code, the proponent of the change must set out:

  • The change,
  • The reason for the change,
  • Evidence supporting the change, and
  • The cost

Municipal Affairs can assist the municipality with how to make code change requests.

AUMA Notes: 

AUMA considers this response.

AUMA Comments: 
Considers government response