Autopro Blog

Canadian Electrical Code – IEC 61508 and 61511 to be Removed from Appendix A

April 01, 2019


 If you have been following the recent controversy surrounding the inclusion of IEC 61508  and  61511 in the  2018 Canadian Electrical Code , you’ll be pleased to know that I have received an email from CSA stating that both the IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 standards are going to be moved OUT of the normative Appendix A of the 2018 edition of the Canadian Electrical Code! From what I have been told, this will be done through a Memorandum of Revisions (MOR) that is expected to be sent to the provincial jurisdictions in July of this year. I believe that there will be a StanData for this coming soon, at least for Alberta.

** Update** As of Wednesday April 3, we have had confirmation from the CSA that both IEC 61508 and 61511 are being removed from the Canadian Electrical Code. These standards do appear in some provincial regulations as well as a few industry specific standards and should be reviewed periodically.

What Does This Mean for the Process Industry?

This is excellent news for the process industry in Canada and I am sure there are a few cheers out there. I know there have been efforts put forward by others through separate channels and I want to thank those individuals as well. Our collective efforts have paid off and I believe the right decision has been made. If the IEC 61511 standard is to become mandatory in Canada, it must be done with stakeholder input and a reasonable timeline to properly implement.

This has raised awareness of the functional safety standards and their role in the overall process safety management programs that are a part of individual companies and it has left a lot of people scratching their heads. I have had various levels of feedback on this topic and some of the issues that I spoke about 10-15 years ago are still prevalent today.

Documented History on IEC 61511

For those who may not know how we got to this point, I will give a little background. During the Canadian Electrical Code (2018 edition) update process, CSA included both the IEC 61508 and 61511 standards into Appendix A, which is identified as normative. The general interpretation of this change is that these standards should be considered a requirement for all installations after each provincial adoption date.

The tendrils of information about this started surfacing early-mid 2018 and based on history, the provincial adoption dates were likely within a year. The largest concern was centered around how to get an entire industry to comply with this standard and properly execute projects to satisfy the regulatory authority in such a short period of time. The vast majority of industry members were not even considering these standards. Industry players were also puzzled by the fact that two functional safety standards, that provide no arc/spark safety whatsoever, were to be included in an electrical code, especially when the electrical discipline plays a relatively small role in functional safety.

For further background information on the issues surrounding IEC 61511, you can read my previous blog post and view the webinar from last fall.

Final Conclusions on the Impacts to the Process Industry and Process Safety Management

I believe CSA got it right and I commend them for it. I also want to thank everyone for their feedback on both the blog and webinar, it has been invaluable for me as it has raised two main issues that I believe need to be addressed:

1. The role that functional safety can (and does) play within a corporate process safety management strategy, and

2. The general assumptions that are still around process safety management and the value it does (or does not) play within a larger corporate vision.

I will be delving deeper into both of these topics in future white papers you will be able to access on Autopro’s website.

Autopro Can Help

Autopro’s functional safety experts are here to help you with your process safety project needs and will work either as single analysts, facilitators or with their partners within multi-disciplinary teams through the HAZOP and LOPA stages. Our focus is on delivering operable, maintainable, and economical solutions that meet or exceed our clients’ risk management targets. Our SIS services cover all aspects of the safety lifecycle including SIS design and implementation, proof test documentation and SIL Verification through to audits and assessments.

For more information on this and our other services, please contact us: