Propane dealers deserve answers: Barrett

For Immediate Release:
November 25, 2010

With a deadline looming at the first of the year, propane distributors are still looking for answers to regulatory changes that might drive them out of business.

In the wake of the Sunrise Propane explosion, the Technical Standards and Safety Association launched new rules requiring propane filling stations to have an assessment, costing $25,000 each. In many cases, that is more than variety stores see in propane sales in a year.

Following up on efforts to draw attention to the potential issue by Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett earlier this year, York-Simcoe MPP Julia Munro asked Minister of Consumer Services John Gerretsen today in the Legislature when the government will come up with a plan to deal with the burden the legislation will place on small refilling stations.

“Thousands of jobs will be lost as propane refill stations across the province are forced to close,” Munro said. “Thousands of environmentally-friendly propane-powered vehicles, including school buses, recreational vehicles, special vans for the disabled and elderly, couriers and taxies, will have no place to refill their tanks.”

Gerretsen said the government is working on the problem, but provided no timelines to allow businesses to plan ahead.

“Small businesses need to start their planning for next year,” Barrett said. “They deserve answers now. Losing small refilling stations in the country will create an inconvenience for recreational vehicle users and farmers. For them, tank exchange programs like those in place for barbecues are not available.”

On top of the cost involved, there are further complications resulting from the fact there are a limited number of inspectors qualified to complete inspections. An inspection is required as part of the license renewal. It will be virtually impossible for them to complete inspections on the 1,600 propane facilities in the next year.

The Ontario Propane Association put forward suggestions that all sites with a storage capacity under 5,000 gallons be excluded, but were ignored by the McGuinty government and the Technical Safety Standards Association. The propane association suggestion would exempt 1,400 of the 1,600 refilling facilities.

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629