CSA is Caught Selling Illegal Product Certifications

June 12th, 2013

The CSA organization has for years been certifying modular buildings in Canada.  Their certification means that the modular building meets construction code requirements (building code, electrical code, etc.) and is therefore authorized for import or export, for use and for resale.  It is not legal to import, export, use or resell a non-certified modular building.  Between 2002 and 2010 however, CSA was not authorized by the Standards Council of Canada to certify modular buildings.  Yet CSA did indeed “certify” such buildings.  As CSA had no authority to certify such buildings, the CSA “certifications” affixed to them are not legally legitimate.  The number of CSA illegal “certifications” during this eight-year period is unknown, but is believed to be a figure of several thousand.

Compounding the difficulty, the CSA did not adhere to its own inspection requirements during their unlawful certification processes.  The mandatory inspections of modular buildings under construction were either wholly absent or were completed using foreign contractors unfamiliar with Canadian building codes.  The result is that many of the modular buildings that CSA illegally “certified” do not meet Canadian legal standards for use or resale. 

Western Canada experienced significant labour constrictions during the rapid growth of the energy sector in recent years.  In response, a number of companies began contracting the fabrication of modular building units in other provinces and in the United States.  The largest number of illegal “certifications” are found in the inventories of energy companies.

Others are likewise affected.  RestoreCSA has been contacted by persons who purchased modular homes, in some cases paying a premium for a unit displaying the CSA sticker.  As these buildings cannot be used or resold, the purchasers have absorbed dramatic losses for which CSA has accepted zero responsibility.  Additionally, the companies which had to pay CSA for certification have had to absorb damage to their reputations for selling now un-usable products.  To our knowledge, none of these companies have been refunded the certification payments that CSA unlawfully charged them.

It should be noted that CSA generates significant revenue from the sale of certifications.  The fact that CSA was not authorized to make such certifications does not seem to have featured in their calculations.  The fact that such certifications were sold to clearly non-compliant products likewise did not alter their course.  It seems clear in this instance that certification processes were viewed by CSA as more of a revenue source than a regulatory responsibility.


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