These are some of your common questions. Over the next few months, we’ll be regularly answering submitted questions, adding to this list. Follow us via Twitter, RSS or Email to receive updates.

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Your Questions

The Answers

The Canadian Electrical Code ("CEC")

What is the CEC?

The Canadian Electrical Code is the body of regulations that apply to electrical wiring in the provinces and territories of Canada.  The Code has been passed into law in every Canadian jurisdiction.

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The Canadian Electrical Code ("CEC")

Does CSA own the CEC?

No.  The CEC has the force of law in every provincial and territorial jurisdiction in Canada.  Democratic society is incompatible with private ownership of public law.  It is therefore not possible for the CSA, or anyone else for that matter, to own this portion of public law, nor any other portion of public law.  Private interests and government Agencies do not, and cannot, own the laws that everyone else has to adhere to.

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PS Knight's CEC

Why are we releasing a PS Knight CEC?

Releasing our own CEC was in our business plan in 2012, prior to CSA’s launching litigation against us.  We held off releasing the CEC in a good faith gesture during litigation but, unfortunately, that good faith has been returned with ill-will.  Now, three years into CSA’s lawsuit, we are no longer motivated to spare our opponents the inconveniences of competition so familiar to most everyone reading this.

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PS Knight's CEC

When is the PS Knight Co Ltd version available?

The PS Knight CEC is already printed and will be released for sale as soon as the Government of Alberta passes the CEC into law, likely during Q3 / Q4 of 2015.  More information is available here.

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PS Knight's CEC

Why does the PS Knight CEC cost $60?

Two reasons;  First, we have production costs beyond printing, and;  Second, this is a new product for us and it will take time for the market to learn about our CEC option, so our print run is small and a smaller print run has a higher per unit cost.  Given our unit cost and expected reprint volume, we are using this Code cycle as an new product introduction and are therefore targeting to break-even by 2018.  Pricing will be revisited for the next Code cycle starting in 2018, based on realized sales volumes 2015 - 2018.

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PS Knight's CEC

How much does CSA’s CEC cost?

The CSA version of the CEC costs $180.  The PS Knight CEC costs $60.  More information here.

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PS Knight's CEC

Why does CSA’s version cost so much more?

Two reasons; First, the CSA has been acquiring a large number of corporations internationally, typically spending tens of millions of dollars in acquisition spending per year, and;  Second, there are very few cost controls at CSA, such that they spend over $67,000 per day on travel, they pay for offices beside golf courses, yacht clubs, in fabulous luxury and without business justification or financial oversight.  All this indulgent extravagance is paid for with taxpayer dollars, some of which are generated from sales of access to electrical law.

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PS Knight's CEC

Are other companies going to sell the CEC?

It is very likely that other companies will release their own versions of the CEC.  We have had discussions with a number of noted publishers and have been advised that other versions are indeed in various stages of preparation, though most publishers are awaiting the results of the PS Knight - CSA litigation prior to releasing their versions.  Within a few years however, it is highly likely that consumers will have a range of choices to source their copy of Canada’s electrical laws.

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PS Knight's CEC

Can others print and sell the CEC?

Yes.  According to current Queen’s Printer laws, anyone has the legal right to accurately reproduce laws, like electrical laws, provided attribution is made to Queen’s Printer.  Various provincial governments phrase their Queen’s Printer copyright differently, so check your local legislation for local regulations.

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PS Knight's CEC

Does CSA own the CEC?

No.  While the CSA believes that they own electrical law, their belief has yet to be validated in court.  Right now, public laws, including Canada’s electrical laws, are public property and are therefore all copyrighted Queen’s Printer by the various governments of Canada.

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PS Knight's CEC

Does the CSA draft the CEC?

No.  According to CSA’s court testimony (in other cases), their role in producing legislation is purely administrative, they have no role in any technical aspect of this highly technical document.  The CEC is a compilation of literally hundreds of persons who contribute their time and expertise.  Unfortunately, under CSA’s administration, these contributions are now being sold as influence opportunities.

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How to restore CSA

What’s needed to restore CSA?

The CSA is a federally chartered entity.  That means that it operates under special license from the federal government.  The federal government therefore has responsibility for any reforms to the CSA organization. 

The CSA charter has been amended only once since 1919, though it is arguably now in need of significant renovation.  As presently enacted, the CSA charter is incredibly broad, yet equally unaccountable; incredibly empowering of the CSA organization, yet equally vague in its limitations.  In fact, it’s arguable that its mandate is presently so ill-defined that CSA could legally start a tractor factory or a donut shop or a portrait studio and still be considered a regulatory entity.  The charter needs an overhaul and the only entity capable and mandated to do it is federal government.

What does a CSA charter overhaul look like?  Well, as the CSA was created to be a regulatory entity, the charter really should restrict the entity to being just that.  Since commercial activity is incompatible with regulatory responsibility, the charter needs to specifically restrict CSA from involvement in commercial activities. 

Resulting from a renovated charter, the CSA Group will need to undergo a significant disentangling from its various conflicts of interest.  Business units and foreign investments and assets will need to be wound down, spun-off, transferred to employees or government or otherwise disposed of.  The reorganization of CSA is critical to its restoration as a credible and competent standardization body, relevant to Canadian industry and to the world at large. 

RestoreCSA will be releasing reform and recovery information at regular intervals. To receive updates as they happen, follow us via Twitter, RSS or Email.

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How to restore CSA

Is CSA excessively bureaucratic?

Full question:  “I have worked with these types of organizations, they are very inefficiently run, top heavy in management, slow to react and very bureaucratic.”

Answer:  Yes. We’ve noticed this too.  The solution is a CSA refocussed on regulatory, denuded of commercial conflicts, much smaller, more efficient, more responsive and able to rise to recover the reputation it once enjoyed.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

How did this conflict start?

The entirety of the current legal dispute between CSA and P.S. Knight Co. was initiated by CSA.  Indeed, the first issuance of CSA threat against the current owner of P.S. Knight Co. was made in response to a good-faith P.S. Knight Co. offer to them of heavily discounted advertising space in its Electrical Code Simplified products.  This offer was a fence-mending effort extended exclusively to CSA.  It is the view of P.S. Knight Co. that CSA is operating unethically and illegally and is using such practices to eliminate P.S. Knight Co. as a competitor.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

How does PS Knight hold CSA prices down?

CSA’s edition of the Canadian Electrical Code (“CEC”) sells for $180, and their version of ECS (their Handbook) sells for $135.  The ECS itself sells for $127.  Curiously, the CEC is priced higher than the Handbook.  This is fairly important, because the CEC is much less expensive to develop it should be priced lower, not $45 higher than the Handbook. 

The CSA can charge people whatever it wants for the CEC because there is no competition, no other source for the CEC.  The CSA cannot charge people whatever it wants for their version of ECS however, because the ECS itself is still available from us.  The CSA then, has priced their version of ECS very close to the ECS itself, only $3 more for their book, because people won’t pay more money for the same information if they don’t have to.  If ECS disappears, then CSA is free to charge whatever it wishes for their Handbook and there won’t be any other options for people who need the information therein.

Consider what would happen if PS Knight Co. were allowed to release its version of the CEC.  What do you suppose the price of the PS Knight CEC would be?  Would it be higher or lower than CSA’s version of this book? If PS Knight did release its CEC, what do you suppose would happen to CSA’s price for its version of the CEC?  Would CSA start price-matching the PS Knight CEC?  If all this happened, would you be paying more money for the Code, or less money?  Is the CSA monopoly good for you? 

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

Are you filing a counter-suit?

Full question: “I hope you have considered filing counter-suit for a crippling amount to demonstrate your earnestness. Given the apparent facts as you present them, you should be easily able to advance a lawsuit for many tens of millions of dollars.”

Answer: We have indeed filed a countersuit, but not for a crippling amount.  However tempting, our countersuit amount is tied to actual business losses.  We will shortly be amending the existing countersuit to reflect the loss of three large contracts and this will push the counterclaim value into the millions.  Our intention is to ensure that our conduct is not opportunistic and CSA-like but, rather, will be honourable and respectable in the clarity of hindsight in the years to come.

Legal documents, including our counter-claim, are available on the left sidebar of the Lawsuit page.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

Does their logo provide them with an unfair advantage?

Full question:  “Does their status, and logo provide them with an unfair competitive advantage?”

Answer:  Yes.  Most people are unaware that CSA hasn’t earned their position in the market, that they only have their level of significance due to a single source monopoly.  That monopoly power shines through the logo and affords them a competitive advantage well beyond their actual credibility or their capability to live up to it.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

Does CSA offer volume discounts like P.S.Knight does?

Full question:  “CSA volume discounts - less than 20% on products on average; CEC not included in sales volume; non-returnable!  Wow, how bad is that!”

Answer:  Well, its quite bad.  P.S. Knight Co.‘s volume discounts are in line with most publishers in North America and are more than double the CSA’s discounts.  The idea that the CEC isn’t included in sales volume calculations is pure pie-in-the-sky.  There is absolutely no way that any legitimate publisher could get away with CSA-style terms.  The CSA itself however, enjoys single source monopoly status, it is a cloistered, protected environment.  They simply don’t have to earn their revenues like legitimate publishers.  Its a massive unfair advantage in the market.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

How long will the legal process take?

The process will take at least another year.  The CSA has been missing deadlines and repeatedly delaying the process.  The reality for CSA is that their case is very weak, and they have almost zero documentation to support their claims whereas P.S. Knight has primary evidence going back four decades. Compounding their problems, the core of their argument, that private companies can own public law, is legally tenuous at best, and politically suicidal in Ottawa.  Their chances of winning are very low, so they’re dragging their feet to hold off the inevitable for as long as they can.

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History of P.S. Knight / CSA Conflict

Why no digital versions of ECS?

Full question:  “We need a pdf version of the Residential book but can’t find anything but the commercial one on iTunes. You were going to have these for 2013 but nothing is available.”

Answer:  Right now, of all ECS publications, only the Industrial and Commercial edition is available in digital format.  All P.S. Knight publications were scheduled for digital release in a variety of formats but the lawsuit has halted our plans in this regard.  Full digital release will have to wait for resolution of the lawsuit.

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The Canadian Standards Association

What is the CSA?

The Canadian Standards Association (“CSA”) is an Agency of the Federal Government of Canada, founded by the British Empire in 1917 and subsequently granted a Canadian Federal Charter in 1919.  The purpose of CSA was “to coordinate the efforts of producers and others for the improvement and standardization of engineering materials.”  Since about 1990 however, the CSA has instead become an inefficient, expensive bureaucracy that is in practice more of a burden to the electrical sector than a service to it. 

The CSA Group is registered as a not-for-profit entity, so it claims to be government and not government depending on convenience.  In 2013 the CSA runs a publications business, several product testing companies, has a wide range of corporate investments internationally, and has thirty-five offices around the world including two in the GTA alone, within 15 minutes drive of each other.  It brings in $263MM dollars in annual revenue (in 2014), including ~$9MM in memberships alone (2010).  That’s a lot of profit, for a not-for-profit.

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The Canadian Standards Association

How do CSA Actions Affect Contractors?

First, the CSA coordinates the Canadian Electrical Code, so it functions as a regulatory entity in service to the trade. 

Second, the efficiency of the CSA in serving the sector determines how much the sector has to pay for that service.  For example, the CSA’s actual production cost of the Canadian Electrical Code book is about $15.  The price CSA charges contractors for this book?  Well, they charge $180.  And contractors need one of these books every three years. 

Where does all the extra money go?  We’ll be releasing details and answering that question over the next few months. Follow us via Twitter, RSS or Email for updates.

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The Canadian Standards Association

How is the CSA a burden to the electrical sector?

The CSA is a bloated bureaucracy, a regulatory entity with a small, exclusively Canadian mandate has unnaturally expanded to include thirty-four offices around the world.  Somebody has to pay for all that.  Thanks to CSA, Canadians in the electrical trade have to pay more money, more often, to access electrical regulations.  Price inflation takes the form of over-priced Code books, over-priced provincial Code books (i.e.: through provincial royalty payments to CSA), over-charges to provincial governments which hit every taxpayer, and through additional direct government subsidies to the CSA Group.

We do not yet have access to CSA financials. Until we have reviewed their financials we will be unable to furnish an exact figure on the extent of price-inflation. Do you want to receive the figures as soon as they’re available? Follow us via Twitter, RSS or Email.

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The Canadian Standards Association

How much does government send to the CSA?

The CSA received $5,623,998.30 from a variety of governments and government agencies during 2011.  But this figure is incomplete.  This figure excludes any sums transferred from any government to CSA as royalties.  This figure also excludes the value of government staff contribution to CSA (hundreds of full-time, permanent employees across Canada) engaged in the development of the Code.  This figure also excludes the value of contributed government facilities, government equipment, materiel, contract contributions, and government facilitated travel.  This figure may also exclude sums transferred from government to CSA as an operational subsidy, an “incentive contribution,” other structured federal lending, or non-repayable leases.  The total value received by CSA from Canadian governments is much larger indeed. 

Unfortunately, publicly available CSA financial information is insufficiently detailed to gauge the extent of government financial transfers.  An item such as incentive contributions for instance, may be a common means of federal financing of private industry, but it is not usually recorded as “funding” and therefore doesn’t show on the very general financial information available publicly.

We do not yet have access to CSA financials. Until we have reviewed their financials we will be unable to furnish an exact figure on government subsidies of CSA. Do you want to receive the figures as soon as they’re available? Follow us via Twitter, RSS or Email.

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The Canadian Standards Association

If CSA couldn’t charge membership dues, how would it pay for itself?

The problem with CSA memberships is the trading of money for influence over the rule of law.  If CSA wishes to become an industry association then there is obviously no problem with accepting membership dues.  If CSA intends to remain a regulatory entity however, then obviously accepting money in exchange for members’ influence over the rule of law is problematic. 

If CSA intends to remain a regulatory entity, then they will need to reduce their expenditures in line with levels typical to other, similar regulatory entities.  Simply, they need to get smaller. 

A good portion of CSA activity is superfluous to its purpose; we don’t need it.  A good portion of CSA expenditure is extravagant and is in desperate need of reform regardless of any legal challenge.  Like any similar association, the CSA will become more nimble and less bloated, more responsive and less entitled, more relevant and less bureaucratic. 

One should note that CSA’s expansion into commercial interests is a relatively recent occurrence.  For most of its history, the CSA organization was much smaller than it is today, and it can be again.  The years of greatest CSA influence, relevance and respect were years of focus in its purpose, efficiency of its service, and accountability to the sector it served.

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The Canadian Standards Association

How does CSA treat its customers?

The CSA understanding of customer service is somewhat different than the views of most people.  The CSA organization tends to treat customers as a nuisance, as though the customers exist in order to serve CSA rather than CSA existing in service to its customers.  And of course, the “customers” in question are the citizens of Canada, so they’ve offended at lot of customers.  A good example of CSA customer service is available here.

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The Canadian Standards Association

CSA vs. Independent Consultants

Full question: “Are you aware of CSA attacking end user purchasers and other independent consulting services and products companies that extract content from CEC Part 1 or other CSA Standards (I believe they have over 3000) to use in the workplace to keep workers safe?”

Answer:  Yes, we were informed of the scale of the problem within a few days of the RestoreCSA launch.  Independent consultants are just one group affected by CSA actions with regard to safety information.  Any construction job site will invariably have safety notices in site trailers, in elevators, in staff rooms, etc., and a lot of these notices are required by law.  Yet CSA practice is to demand royalty payments from any entity posting safety information which originates in any CSA material, even if that safety information has the force of law.  Safety shouldn’t be penalized, companies shouldn’t be asked to remove safety notices for fear of “copyright violation.” 

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The Canadian Standards Association

CSA vs. Safety Notices

Full question:  “Under OH&S law in Canada an employer has to provide a worker with information about hazards in the workplace and how to mitigate and reduce or eliminate them. The CEC Part 1 also has implications with respect to OH&S Regulations as the information used in it is used in the workplace to ensure electrical installations and the work performed on them is safe.  Are you aware of CSA attempting to charge royalties to every purchaser of the CEC Part 1 where for example the Tables are extracted, copied and used with electricians, electrical designers and Apprenticeship instructors?”

Answer:  Yes, we are aware of CSA actions on safety issues.  You are correct that a variety of legislation requires the posting of safety information on the job site.  You are also correct that CSA claims private ownership of some of these safety regulations and yes, they are trying to charge companies for posting safety notices and for training their staff.  And yes, this is all quite absurd.  We regard these CSA demands for money as baseless, as essentially shakedowns.  We are working to correct the attitudes at CSA which have lead us to this point and to affirm the public ownership of public law.

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The Canadian Standards Association

What about conflicts of interest?

Full question:  “I believe many aspects of business and regulation are way too cosy in Canada. Citizens are far too trusting and misguided in their belief that these self-regulating bodies operate in their interest. And clearly all of these governmental chartered or otherwise created organizations are arms of the government and should be subject to high levels of scrutiny and disclosure.”

Answer: Agreed.  The coziness you mention breeds corruption.  Right now CSA is exempt from the accountability and transparency regulations standard to government entities, they are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, they have been granted immunities from civil accountability, they are not subject to the Competition Bureau, and the RCMP Commercial Crimes unit can’t touch them.  They are functionally above the law.  RestoreCSA is committed to restoring the rule of law to CSA, and a big part of that objective is removing the current coziness and unaccountability.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Is CSA restricting access to safety information?

Full question:  “Are you aware of CSA attacking end user purchasers and other independent consulting services and products companies that extract content from CEC Part 1 or other CSA Standards (I believe they have over 3000) to use in the workplace to keep workers safe?”

Answer:  Yes.  We have heard from end user purchasers on this and related issues.  Large contractors are now being targeted by CSA because they post safety relations on the job site. The precedents involved, of a private company actually owning safety laws and then policing public access to safety information, are substantial and CSA trajectory in this regard is clearly unsustainable.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Does CSA offer training?

Full question:  “Are you aware that CSA is trying to push training companies out of business?”

Answer:  Yes.  The CSA is offering cut-rate training in order to undercut its competition, and it is also demanding that its competition pay CSA for each student taught by a non-CSA employee.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Is CSA benefitting from OH&S laws?

Full question: “Under OH&S law in Canada an employer has to provide a worker with information about hazards in the workplace and how to mitigate and reduce or eliminate them?  [So isn’t] CSA just charging people whatever it wants?”

Answer:  Canada’s OH&S laws do indeed mandate the posting of safety information, and CSA is demanding royalties for the posting of that information.  Because contractors are obligated to post, and because CSA thinks it owns the safety information being posted and can therefore charge for each posting, the CSA has been afforded a functional, de-facto power of taxation.  A private company with taxation powers is plainly unacceptable.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Does CSA have subject matter experts?

Full question:  “How can they provide consulting services if they don’t have the “Subject Matter Experts?”

Answer:  The CSA does have “subject matter experts” but, as we have repeatedly heard, the CSA can’t “attract the subject matter experts [that] they really need as their compensation is typically way lower than the private sector.”  So they do have “experts,” but they’re not top-drawer professionals.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Does CSA leverage its regulatory role for commercial gain?

Full question:  “Don’t they have preferential access to company and contact information that the private sector doesn’t have access to? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?”

Answer:  Yes and yes.  The CSA is leveraging its government authority as an electrical regulator for commercial and private enrichment.  Yes, this is a massive conflict of interest.  And yes, we’re working hard to correct this situation.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Is the CSA accountable under the Competition Act?

Full question:  “On your most recent restoreCSA website update I read how the CSA cannot be accountable to the Competition Act in Canada.  Can you help explain this statement further?”

Answer:  The Competition Bureau of Industry Canada is a logical first stop for perceived violations of the Competition Act.  Unfortunately, the Competition Bureau is not mandated to investigate public entities.  As CSA is federally chartered, the Bureau can’t touch it.  We have had discussions with the Competition Bureau and they were quite stunned to hear about CSA claiming to own electrical law.  We are advised that the Bureau would like to take on the CSA but they don’t have the mandate to do so.

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The Canadian Standards Association

What quality are the official CSA training programs?

Full question:  “I had to use the CSA online updating course for the adoption of the CSA 21st edition and what a farce that was. In my opinion, 95% of it had nothing to do with with the new updates for seasoned safety codes officer but rather training for apprentices.”

Answer:  Yes.  We have heard versions of this complaint for years.  Official CSA courses are usually quite amateurish affairs, the material therein very basic and introductory.  Yet CSA wants to be the only entity offering such courses.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Does the CSA sell things that they don’t produce?

Full question:  “How can CSA sell the [redact] which they do not produce?  They are in direct competition with private enterprise and they are making a profit, this has been going on for years!”

Answer:  The CSA can do this because regulatory isn’t very sexy, no political figures willingly take on the CSA.  Instead, the CSA has been allowed to become a law unto itself.  Adding to the trouble, the CSA operates in an ambiguity as simultaneously a public and a private entity and they vacillate between claiming to be the one or the other, depending on which is most advantageous at any given moment.  That makes it difficult to hold them accountable for anything, they can always claim to be outside the jurisdiction of the entity that is trying to police them.

Note:  The product in the question has been omitted to protect the identity of the company submitting the question.

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The Canadian Standards Association

Is CTS Taiwan really CSA?

Yes.  The CTS Taiwan entity markets itself in Taiwan as “CSA.”  While it may be registered as independent, it is functioning under the CSA brand.  Taiwanese participants in CTS programs believe that they are dealing with CSA.

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The Canadian Standards Association

What is the FTE count at CSA?

As of 2013, the FTE count is just over 1,600 persons.

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The Canadian Standards Association

What is the CDN percent of CSA’s FTE count?

We have no idea.  As a domestic Canadian regulator, the CDN percentage should be at or near 100%.  The CSA is not under FOIP, and is therefore more opaque in its dealings.

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Is P.S. Knight Angry With...

Electrical inspectors?

No.  Peter Knight was proud to be an electrical inspector, knew and worked with many inspectors, and some of our biggest supporters were –and are- electrical inspectors. 

The conduct of CSA places electrical inspectors in an awkward position.  While part of an inspectors’ job is working on the continual improvement of the Canadian Electrical Code, and that necessarily through CSA, the formality of their relationship with an increasingly commercially oriented CSA has the unfortunate affect of compromising their perceived impartiality.  Through their involvement in the CSA, they are “authors” or “contributors” or members of an entity formally associated with a commercial publication that may be utilized on the jobsite of a contractor being inspected by them.  But what if the contractor is using a different guidebook, something CSA didn’t publish?  What if that contractor’s work is then rejected at inspection?  The overwhelming majority of electrical inspectors are honest and honourable people, and through no fault of their own they’re now dealing with the appearance of a conflict of interest.

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Is P.S. Knight Angry With...

Trade school professors?

No.  It has been CSA’s corporate strategy to ingratiate itself with as many influential people in trade leadership as possible so as to leverage these relationships to their commercial advantage.  CSA publications for instance, exhaustively list the “authors” of the regulations.  These “authors” are in positions of leadership in governments, inspection authorities, and in academia. 

Electrical certification programs in Canada are usually province-wide programs.  In other words, the same certification program will usually use the same textbook regardless of school being attended.  A small group of senior people in the trade makes the decision as to which textbooks will be used for which programs. 

As of 2013, to the best of our knowledge, not a single certification program in Canada uses our Commercial & Industrial book.  That’s not reasonable.  Even if our Commercial & Industrial book were very poor, statistically speaking there would still be some people who’d prefer it over the CSA publication.  The reality that we are locked out of academia entirely suggests quite strongly that there has been in fact the insider influence that we have heard of in rumor.

As for the professors themselves?  We’re not angry with them at all.  What CSA doesn’t know (until just now), is that we do sell to a lot of professors, we just do it quietly.  They purchase their books on personal credit cards, they request that we send the book to their residences.  Our books are desired, utilized, valued; they just can’t be too visible on campus, given the influence of the CSA.

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Is P.S. Knight Angry With...

The Canadian Standards Association?

Yes.  Thank you for your question.

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Legal Allegations

If CSA wins its case against P.S. Knight Co., then they would own the law?

Yes.  The issue presently in litigation is whether CSA “owns” the Canadian Electrical Code, which has been passed into law in every province and territory in Canada.  If they win, they could rightly be said to “own” the laws they contributed to.  Remember though, that a legal ruling is a precedent, which means that every other instance exhibiting comparable particulars is affected in the same way by that same verdict.  In other words, if CSA wins, then every lobby group that successfully petitioned government on any issue would own the laws that were passed as a result of their efforts.

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Legal Allegations

If we oppose CSA membership dues, how should companies influence new Code development?

The CSA Code Committee functions, in practice, like a Parliamentary Committee.  That is, it solicits industry input into proposed changes to electrical law.  And like a Parliamentary Committee, there is no other venue for companies to influence the law, there’s just the CSA.  There are actually a lot of such committees in Canada, both federally in Canadian Parliament and in the provincial legislatures, and they all function quite well without anyone paying for a seat at the table.  Eliminating CSA membership dues will not alter the ability of any company to influence the new Code.  It’ll be the same subject, same Code process, same influence, same committee table, just no more bribes to get there.

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Legal Allegations

On what basis does CSA claim to own the law?

The CSA compiled various provincial amendments to Canada’s electrical laws.  The CSA then lobbied governments to pass these new regulations into law.  On the basis of having lobbied government for changes to law, CSA believes that they therefore have ownership of the legal statues which contain those changes.

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Legal Allegations

If private companies can own public law, then can they demand royalties on those laws?

Yes.  If you owned a bridge or a toll road, you’d be allowed to charge people for the use of your property.  In the same way, if CSA owns a portion of law, then they can legally charge people for access to that law and for each instance of the use of that law.  Of course, every lobby group that successfully convinced government to pass their preferred changes to law would then also own their bits of law also.  The precedents that are involved in the CSA / PS Knight case make this legal battle very important.

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Legal Allegations

Does CSA have a valid defamation case against RestoreCSA?

Nope.  But CSA has tried to conjure one, they’ve been harassing our web hosts by claiming that RestoreCSA.com contains defamatory statements.  A former web host for RestoreCSA bluntly replied to CSA complaints thusly:

“All of these “allegations” you have accused them of making seem to be nothing more than their own opinions - in fact they have made sure to specifically state so.
  In regards to “passing-off under” and “unauthorized depreciation of goodwill”, it would be glaringly obvious to anyone taking even a passive glance at the site that is has no actual connection to the CSA at all.”

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Legal Allegations

Are you pursuing civil action against, or criminal prosecution of, CSA staff?

Yes.  A court based resolution will necessarily involve the introduction of full legal accountability to the CSA organization.

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Legal Allegations

Has CSA repaid the money they took for selling counterfeit certifications?

Full Question:  “The money CSA made from manufacturers must be less than the loss of the people who bought the products, so did CSA give the money back that they took from manufacturers?  Because it was for fake stickers, not real, so shouldn’t have taken it anyway.”

Answer:  We are unaware of any repayment of any of the value taken from manufacturers in payment for what they were told were authentic CSA certifications.

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Legal Allegations

Is the new CACN website a real relaunch?

Full question:  “In light of the recent article, is the new CACN website really new or not?  Is it really different or just a face saving site?”

Answer:  As noted, the content of the latest version of the CACN website is nearly identical to the original website.  The key differences include a different colour heading bar, two new pictures on the front page, and the deletion of evidence referenced by RestoreCSA’s two articles about CACN conduct in August and September of 2013.  It appears that their “new” website is merely a panicky repackaging of their old one, just washed of the evidence of their conduct.

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Legal Costs

How much is all this costing?

It’s costing plenty.  Litigation is always very expensive but in our case it is excessively so.  The CSA appears to have adopted the strategy of bleeding P.S. Knight Co. financially.  Even within their already silly copyright lawsuit, they are making legal fights out of pointless, petty issues in order to increase our legal expenses.  Certain of their challenges they know to be hopeless, they know they can’t win some of the processes they are embarking upon.  But they also know that regardless of who wins in the little skirmishes, P.S. Knight Co. will have to pay legal fees for every one of them. 

Lets put the fees in perspective.  P.S. Knight Co. has pre-tax revenue of less than $500k.  The CSA Group however, has revenues of $263MM (in 2014).  For every dollar we spend to defend ourselves, CSA can spend more than $500 trying to destroy us.

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Legal Costs

If the fight is so expensive, why not just cut a deal with CSA?

We tried this option already.  It was an unsavory deal; it was unethical really.  But we’re a very small company and we felt we didn’t have much choice.  That deal was rejected and it wasn’t our doing.  At some point it may be legally permissible to release more detail on this unethical deal, but we are currently precluded from doing so.

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Legal Costs

What happens to P.S. Knight Co. if you lose?

The CSA has made it clear that they intend to eliminate Electrical Code Simplified (“ECS”) competition to their version of our book.  Further, they have indicated an intention to expand their commercial activities into CSA branded residential wiring books.  As these are the last product line of P.S. Knight Co., the whole of ECS will cease to exist if they win.  As for Peter Knight and his son and current owner, Gordon Knight, CSA has advised in their legal filings that they intend to extract what they consider ill-gotten gains and what we call income.  Cumulatively, the sums involved would be quite devastating to both persons.  Peter Knight is now 85 years old (as of Jan., 2013), and is incapable of financially recovering from CSA’s conduct. 

Our loss would destroy our small company and bankrupt two people including an elderly man.  In this context, we have to fight like everything depends upon winning.  For us, everything does depend on it!

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Legal Costs

Are you accepting donations?

No, for a variety of legal and accounting reasons we are not currently accepting donations.  We have had inquiries about donations and in future we may revisit the option.

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Legal Costs

How many lawyers is CSA using?

Quite a few.  We have been amused by the steadily growing ranks of lawyers that CSA has engaged to silence and to fight against RestoreCSA.  We don’t know the full number of CSA lawyers and they’re not required to disclose the number, but these are the lawyers that we know are working for CSA against us:

Sarah Eisen (of CSA, from 2011)
Kevin Sartorio (of Gowlings, from 2012)
David Potter (of Gowlings, from 2013)
Natalie Rizkalia-Kamel (of Gowlings, from 2013)
Wendy Wagner (of Gowlings, from 2013)
Glen Jennings (of Gowlings, from 2014)
James Green (of Gowlings, from 2016)

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