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Quick Facts

For the last 100 years, the Alberta Government has been a leader in pressure equipment safety. Since 1995, as delegated by the Government of Alberta, ABSA (Alberta Boilers Safety Association) has been the pressure equipment safety authority for Alberta.

1874 Steam Engines appeared on the Prairies for purposes other than transportation.
1882 The Boiler Explosion Act was passed in Britain, and was the basis for Alberta’s legislation.
1897 The first Steam Boilers Ordinance was passed at the legislative session of the Northwest Territories. (What is now Alberta was then part of the Northwest Territories.) Prior to this, there were no regulations relating to the operation of steam boilers, granting certificates to those in charge of them, or certification of the engines themselves.
1898 Under the Steam Boilers Ordinance, 14 final engineers certificates and 148 temporary certificates for engineers were issued. 48 boilers were inspected during that year in the Northwest Territories.
1905 Alberta became a province and the Steam Boilers Act set up the Steam Boilers Branch of the Department of Public Works of Alberta.
1909 The Interprovincial Boiler Conference convened in Regina and established the rules for the construction and inspection of steam boilers for Canada.New Alberta regulations established the requirement for design survey. One hundred twelve drawings were received, of which thirty were approved.
1912 A new Boilers Act was passed based on the regulations that had originated in Alberta.The new Act also brought into being the position of Chief Inspector. The first Chief Inspector was Frances Hobson, who served in 1912 and again from 1916 to 1936.
1914 Under the auspices of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Boiler Design and Construction Code was developed. It was the first complete standard of its kind in the world and is still being used in its updated form today.
1923 The Alberta Department of Public Works transferred control of the Boilers Branch to the Bureau of Labour.
1925 The first oil processing vessels were registered with the Boilers Branch.
Annual registration of engineers certificates came into effect. The total registration for this year was 1807.
1926 Due to an economic boom, a record number of used vessels entered the province.
During this year, 9 Inspectors issued 3007 certificates.
1929 Changes to the Regulations required that pressure welders be certified. Ten welders were certified that year.
3065 Inspections were performed and 2530 certificates were issued during that year.
1932 The Canadian Interprovincial Boiler Code Committee convened to produce uniform requirements with regard to vessel welders and the construction of welded vessels.
1933 The first large gas plant was built in the Turner Valley area.
1947 The first major oil refinery was constructed in Alberta.
1953 The Alberta Boilers Branch was transferred to the newly created Department of Industries and Labour.
1959 The Alberta Department of Industry and Labour was split and the Boilers Branch was placed in the Department of Labour.
1961 Between 1959 and 1961, the construction of gas processing plants, refineries, and power plants greatly increased.
1970 The second major oil refinery was constructed in Alberta.
1975 The Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act was assented to on June 25th. The Act and the associated Regulations set a new standard for pressure equipment safety.
1985 573 gas plants had been constructed in Alberta since 1933. There were 201 companies in Alberta with registered quality control programs.
In the mid-1950s, there were 5,780 boilers and 16,083 pressure vessels in Alberta. By the mid-1980s, that number had increased to 12,694 boilers and 49,644 pressure vessels.
1991 The Safety Codes Act (SCA) was enacted. However only parts of it were proclaimed at that time.
1993 The portions of the Safety Codes Act dealing with the Safety Codes Council (SCC) were proclaimed and the SCC came into being.
1994 The Safety Codes Act replaced the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act.
ABSA was registered as an organization under the Societies Act.
1995 ABSA was delegated responsibility for the administration of all boiler and pressure vessel safety programs in Alberta. Many staff moved from the Alberta Boilers Branch and formed the core of ABSA. Boilers Branch records and programs continued under ABSA.
2006 Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation (PESR) replaced the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Regulation and the Design, Construction and Installation of Boilers and Pressure Vessels Regulations.
2014 Dr. Ken Lau retired as Chief Inspector and Administrator after 24 years as the longest serving.
2014 Michael Poehlmann appointed Chief Inspector and Administrator.

Last modified: April 21, 2015