Operating Permits

Are you an owner or operator of a propane pressure vessel in BC?

Due to the safety risk, BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is reminding owners of propane storage tanks that an operating permit is required for each tank in BC.

Please refer to Operating Permit Application For Propane Pressure Vessels (BCSA Directive #D-BP-2015-01), issued on June 22, 2015, which clarifies the requirement for a person who owns a propane tank that is in operation in British Columbia to obtain an operating permit from BCSA. 

Here you will find information on your responsibilities as an owner or operator, and the steps to follow to obtain an operating permit if you do not already have one.


If you are a homeowner who either owns or operates a propane tank in BC, you need to be aware that by law your propane tank must be registered with BC Safety Authority with an annual Operating Permit.  Please refer to Operating Permit Application For Propane Pressure Vessels (BCSA Directive #D-BP-2015-01).

The owner of the propane tank should take out the operating permit, and in most instances this will be your propane supplier (see What kinds of propane pressure vessels are affected?).

However, if you do own your own tank(s), please refer to the information below, especially What does an operating permit applicant need to do?.

Which propane storage tanks require an operating permit?

Propane storage tanks in operation (e.g., pressurized above 15 pounds per square inch gauge - psig) require an operating permit.  Common sizes of propane storage tanks currently available vary from 120 US water gallons (USWG) up to 1000 USWG; however, tanks may be constructed for other capacities.

Propane cylinders (e.g., used with barbecues, small heating equipment, and recreation vehicles) are subject to Transport Canada regulations and do not require a BCSA operating permit. For more details, see the ‘Transportation of Dangerous Goods – Containers’ section under ‘Safety’ on Transport Canada’s website.

Who should take out an operating permit?

The owner of the propane tank should take out the operating permit.

What are some of the responsibilities of the operating permit holder?

  • Applying and paying for the permit, including annual renewals. (see fee exemption note below)
  • Complying with the terms and conditions of the operating permit.
  • Ensuring the permit is in place before using, operating or performing work on the tank.
  • Ensuring all regulated work is done by individuals with the appropriate certification who are employed by either a company with a valid gas contractor’s licence or, where applicable, an establishment with a valid operating permit allowing regulated work.

On completion of an inspection by a safety officer, BCSA is responsible for issuing a Certificate of Inspection (COI) to the operating permit holder, who must then correct any identified non-compliances and advise BCSA.

Who is qualified to maintain a propane tank, including servicing the pressure relief valve?

Individuals employed by a company with a valid gas contractor’s licence and who hold a valid and appropriate Certificate of Qualification recognized by a Provincial Safety Manager in order to:

  • transfer propane from one container to another (e.g., adding, removing, dispensing or defueling);
  • inspect, maintain, service or remove tank components, including pressure relief devices; and
  • connect or disconnect gas systems to propane containers.

Talk to your propane supplier about maintenance or find a licensed gas contractor on BCSA’s website under ‘Find a Contractor’.

What is the process to apply for an operating permit?

  1. Complete an Operating Permit Application for Propane Pressure Vessels (Form 1509 on our website under BCSA Forms & Fees) and email it to propane@safetyauthority.ca, or call 778-396-2033 for assistance.
  2. You will receive an electronic spreadsheet from BCSA with the data fields required for all of your propane pressure vessel units.  The data required will include - but is not limited to - the information on the name plate of your tank(s) as well as the location of each tank.
  3. Complete the electronic spreadsheet and email it to propane@safetyauthority.ca.
  4. 4.  You will be contacted if further clarification or information is required.
  5. You will receive an invoice (annually) listing all of your units.
  6. Once payment is submitted and processed, you will be issued an operating permit.

2016 Propane Pressure Vessel Annual Operating Permit Fees

NOTE: Operating permits are required for ALL propane tanks. Homeowners who own or lease their tank for residential use are exempt from the permit fee.  The fee is also exempt from tanks that are owned by commercial operators but leased to a homeowner who is using the tank for residential purposes.

All tank owners (industrial, commercial and residential), regardless of the fee exemption, are required to apply for a permit and provide their tank data to BCSA.

If you know the dimensions of your tank(s) (i.e. tank diameter and length in metres), please refer to Table 1. If you do not know the dimensions but have the tank volume, please refer to Table 2.

Table 1: Tank Dimension-based Fees



< 5 M

5 - 10 M

10 - 15 M

15 - 20 M

20 - 25 M

> 25 M










< 1 M







1 - 2 M







2 - 3 M







3 - 4 M







4 - 5 M







> 5 M







Click for larger version


Table 2: Tank Volumetric-based Fees* (in US water gallons)

  Year 2016
  999 USWG* $27
 1,000 to 1,999 USWG* $38
 ≥ 2,000 USWG Dimensions req'd.

*  For reference, if tank dimensions are unavailable for tanks less than 2,000 USWG, Table 2 assumes:

  • 250 and 500 USWG tanks: diameter < 39.4” (= 1 M) and length < 197” (= 5 M)
  • 1,000 USWG tanks: diameter 39.4” to 78.8” (= 1 – 2 M) and length < 197” (= 5 M)
  • Dimensions must be provided for tanks < 2,000 USWG with non-standard dimensions, or tanks ≥ 2,000 USWG.

How will safety oversight be provided?

To help clients ensure that their tanks meet safety standards, BCSA will utilize a risk-based, sample and audit approach to identify areas of greatest safety concern. Our Accident Prevention Model includes:

  • Assessment via sample inspections and audits of tank maintenance records.
  • Education, such as providing information and videos on propane equipment safety.
  • Enforcement to ensure that propane equipment is properly installed, maintained and safe.
  • Research into incidents involving propane.

For more information, please visit our website at www.safetyauthority.ca/about.


Annual renewal of operating permit

Permits are renewed annually via the following process:

  1. 90 days prior to permit expiry, you will receive an electronic spreadsheet listing the details of your propane tanks.
  2. Review and update the spreadsheet with the details of any tanks dismantled, decommissioned, sold, or acquired.
  3. E-mail the updated spreadsheet to BCSA at propane@safetyauthority.ca.  
  4. You will receive a renewal invoice listing details of your propane tanks.   
  5. Make the payment as per instructions on the invoice.
  6. Your operating permit will be issued after BCSA has processed the payment.

Why is this important?         

Since 2004, BC law states that all pressure vessel owners must have a permit to use this type of equipment. In particular, when this equipment is used to store large quantities of combustible fuel, such as propane, there is an inherent safety risk involved to owners and the surrounding public and property.

An operating permit is required for propane tanks in order for BCSA to provide safety oversight. Having this data enables us to assess hazards and effectively communicate important safety information to owners so that they can protect themselves, their equipment and those around them.

Questions about operating permits or the application process?

Please contact us at propane@safetyauthority.ca or 778-396-2033.

Propane Forms

Printable Version
Guidance document for owners and operators of propane pressure vessels in BC

Propane Operating Permits Consultation

Status: Canceled

This consultation was to clarify the operating permit requirements for the use of propane pressure vessels as described in the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation and CAN/CSA B149.2-10.

After considering the feedback we received during preliminary discussions with stakeholders groups, we have decided not to move forward with the proposed program for administering operating permits for propane tanks. This consultation has therefore been canceled.

Please see Directive D-BP-2015-01 for operating permit requirements for propane pressure vessels.


Contact us at stakeholder.engagement@safetyauthority.ca

Passenger Ropeway Operating Permits

We’ll issue your operating permit once the passenger ropeway has passed the acceptance inspection and you have paid the Operating Permit invoice.

Your operating permit expires after a year. You will receive a renewal invoice which must be paid before the permit expiry date.

To renew:

  • Mail a cheque for the renewal fee to the New Westminster BCSA office or,
  • Visit any BCSA office in person.

To understand the fees involved for your inspection and operating permit renewal, see the Passenger Ropeway Fee Schedule.

Amusement Devices Operating Permits

We’ll issue an operating permit once the amusement device has passed the acceptance inspection and you have paid the operating permit invoice. Additional fees may be charged if the amusement device does not pass the acceptance inspection. To understand the fees involved for your inspection and operating permit renewal, see the Amusement Devices Fee Schedule.

Your operating permit expires after a year. You will receive a renewal invoice which must be paid before the permit expiry date.

To renew your permit:

Please be prepared to pay the appropriate fee by credit card or by cheque payable to BC Safety Authority.

Elevating Operating Permits

If you own a building that has an elevating device installed, it’s your responsibility to obtain an operating permit. You also need to renew the permit every year thereafter.

Your renewal reminder and form will be mailed 30 days before your operating permit expires. Please submit your form in person at any BCSA office or call

Be prepared to pay the renewal fee.

To retain your operating permit you need to hire a licensed maintenance contractor to perform mandatory maintenance. For more information see the Mandatory Maintenance directive.

As the owner of a new installation, your elevating contractor will have to request an inspection once the installation has been completed. The owner, within 60 days after a passed inspection, must obtain an operating permit. Please see Elevating Devices Information Bulletin IB-ED 2013-01.

Once an installation has passed an inspection, our office will send an invoice to the owner for an operating permit.

Remember, all active elevating devices must have an operating permit.