What is a CRN?

CRN stands for Canadian Registration Number. The Canadian Registration Number Directory provides a wealth of information regarding CRNs, including a list of regulatory agencies across Canada.

Canadian provinces or territories assign a CRN to pressure vessels, piping, and fittings greater than 15 psig. The number signifies that the design of the pressure asset has been reviewed by the province or territory’s safety regulatory body, has been deemed to comply with code, and meets all safety requirements.

A CRN for a boiler or pressure vessel is defined by CSA B51 Clause 4.3 as:

  • Consisting of a letter, four digits, and a decimal point followed by up to ten digits and three letters.
  • The first letter and four digits are part of a sequential numbering system used by the issuing province or territory.
  • The first digit or letter to the right of the decimal point indicates the province that issued the number.

Provincial and Territorial Identifications

The following identifications are used in accordance with the code:

1 – British Columbia                        7 – New Brunswick                         N – Nunavut

2 – Alberta                                         8 – Nova Scotia

3 – Saskatchewan                            9 – Prince Edward Island

4 – Manitoba                                     0 (Zero) – Newfoundland

5- Ontario                                         T – Northwest Territories

6 – Quebec                                        Y – Yukon Territory

The letter C may follow the designation of first registration if a design is registered in all jurisdictions. No jurisdiction issues the letter C; the manufacturer stamps it once all registrations are received.

The letters CL may follow the designation of first registration if a design is registered in all jurisdictions that require it and not in the jurisdictions that do not. No jurisdiction issues the letter CL. Like with the C, it is stamped by the manufacturer once it has received registrations for all required jurisdictions. The “L” means limited.

To be eligible for use in Alberta, the CRN must have the digit 2, or the letter C, somewhere after the decimal point.

A Canadian Registration Number is issued if the design is satisfactory.

Examples of valid CRNs are B1079.23M2138.5C, and V1234.5CL.

For the company that owns and operates pressure vessels in Canada, it is important that the CRN be stamped and visible on the vessel’s nameplate.

Why is a CRN Important?

If your equipment does not have a CRN, you cannot operate it. It’s that simple. In case of a compliance audit in the field, it is important to have proof that the vessel is approved to work at that location. For example, suppose the pressure vessel operates in Alberta, and the auditor cannot find a .2 CRN designation. In that case, the company can be hit with significant fines, immediate loss of work, and disciplinary actions taken by the Alberta Boiler Safety Authority (ABSA).

***Simply put, a company that owns a pressure vessel without the proper registered CRN could suffer substantial financial losses.***

How Do You Obtain a CRN?

Here’s an example, using a pressure vessel you are purchasing to work in Alberta.

STEP ONE:  A company submits an order to the manufacturer for the pressure vessel to be built. The manufacturer is an Alberta company. They tell the manufacturer the provinces where it needs to be registered (in this case, Alberta only).

STEP TWO:  The equipment manufacturer will submit the vessel design to ABSA (because it is being used in Alberta) for approval. ABSA will inspect the vessel throughout the build stages and then will accept and register the design and stamp “.2” on the nameplate.

STEP THREE:  ABSA then issues a CRN Letter of Acceptance saying the design was approved and registered to work in Alberta. The CRN number is then placed in the Manufacturers Data Report (MDR). The MDR is completed and signed by the manufacturer as well as ABSA. The Letters of Acceptance are supporting documents that go alongside the MDR.

STEP FOUR:  ABSA’s letter and the MDR are then put into the vessel’s Quality Control Manual that will be handed over to the new owner along with the vessel. At this point, the certified vessel is ready to go to work in the province as designated by the CRN number.

Tips for Obtaining and Retaining a CRN

Suppose a pressure vessel will operate in multiple provinces. In that case, the owner must submit the design to the regulatory body for each applicable location for approval and registration. This process can take many months, so the owner should advise the manufacturer at the start of the building process that the vessel may work in more than one province.

Let’s say it was determined at the beginning of the building process that the pressure vessel would possibly be used in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. The manufacturer would apply for a CRN registration in those four jurisdictions, and the CRN would have the numbers 1236 after the decimal point. If it applied to work in Alberta at the beginning and then later in those other provinces, the numbers would be 2136. The order doesn’t matter as long as the number for the province is present. Letters of Acceptance from all these provinces would be sent by each province’s safety authority (i.e., ABSA, TSASK, etc.) to the vessel owner, and MDRs can then be amended to reflect the changes.

Speed Up the Process by Understanding Each Province’s Documentation Requirements

Each province’s safety authority will have specific documentation requirements for applying for a CRN. You can speed up the process by giving them exactly what they need when you submit your application. You can find a list on each safety authority’s website. For example, in BC the Safety Standards Act requires that the owner supply Technical Safety BC with design drawings and an MDR from the vessel’s Quality Control Manual. You can learn more about BC’s requirements here.

Alternatives to a CRN

Sometimes there is an alternative to having a CRN for a boiler or pressure vessel. For example, the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK) allows owners of pressure equipment to register a data report instead of obtaining a CRN for operating in that province.

If the boiler or pressure vessel is registered using the alternative to a CRN, the nameplate must meet the requirements of the applicable ASME Code and/or CSA B51. A CRN will not be issued by TSASK when the alternative to the CRN registration process is followed. Therefore, a ‘3’ will not be added to the suffix of the CRN issued by another province, nor will the CRN that is stamped on the nameplate contain the ‘3’ for Saskatchewan.

TSASK tracks these vessels by issuing a unique Saskatchewan ‘SK’ number which is recorded at TSASK and is added to the unit by the local TSASK Inspector. Owners who register the data report should contact the local TSASK Inspector to arrange to stamp the registration number.


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