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Author: Subject: Canadian Lab Laws and Certification?
ripple
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[*] posted on 14-3-2012 at 10:27
Canadian Lab Laws and Certification?


Anybody know what the process is to properly put together and register a small lab in Canada? I've always thought it would be neat to set up a small lab to make catalysts and custom organics, like Rare Earth Products for example, but I've been too scared of the prospect of investing my savings in equipment only to have misguided law enforcement destroy it all before they realise that its not a drug lab.

Is there some licensing body that I can apply to? Or is it more just letting the authorities know what you're up to and inviting any inspections they desire?

I'd like to get the ok before investing any money in equipment and I'd also like to spend the bare minimum on the appropriate paperwork so I have more to spend on fancy stuff from Chemglass- their CHEMRxnHUB systems are soooo cool! :D

Thanks for the help
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Hexavalent
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[*] posted on 14-3-2012 at 11:11


From what I've heard, its often best just to keep your mouth shut and not speak of your lab openly to anybody . . .you never know who will 'snitch' on you.

Lesson 1: trust nobody . . .




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Lambda-Eyde
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[*] posted on 14-3-2012 at 11:18


Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent  
From what I've heard, its often best just to keep your mouth shut and not speak of your lab openly to anybody . . .you never know who will 'snitch' on you.

Lesson 1: trust nobody . . .

Yeah, try to run a company preparing catalysts and fine chemicals without telling anyone (including customers, LE and governmental agencies) you actually have a lab to do it in. Somehow, some companies do run such businesses without getting raped by the police.




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ripple
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[*] posted on 14-3-2012 at 11:57


Seriously, Hex? read the post again.

This attitude that everything MUST be hidden just fuels the perception that you can't be involved in home chemistry without being a criminal.

I specifically don't want to keep it a secret- I'd like to do everything on the level and out in the open so that my equipment could be insured and I could order stuff from large suppliers. I'd also like to have a go at actually making a bit of profit by selling the occasional thing too, and I don't expect that companies would be interested in buying catalysts from my super secret lab- SHHHH!!! ;)

I have all the necessary education under my belt, but working as a bench chemist for the larger companies doesn't pay well and isn't appealing for lots of reasons.

The problem with being all secretive about lab stuff when you're not doing anything illegal, is you end up getting all of your stuff trashed by the police when they eventually find out about it. What was the name of that guy that was working on the glue for the lids for baby food jars? Mr. Dees or something? They found his lab when the fire department was looking for a breaker panel, and destroyed his entire lab (and life) trying to find evidence of drug manufacturing and it was precisely BECAUSE it was secret that they figured it must be a drug lab.

Sometimes its better to come out of the closet



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entropy51
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[*] posted on 14-3-2012 at 12:37


Quote: Originally posted by ripple  
Is there some licensing body that I can apply to? Or is it more just letting the authorities know what you're up to and inviting any inspections they desire?
The rules might be different in Canada, but i will bet they aren't too different. My experience is in the U.S.

One company I worked for opened a new lab. The process mostly involved zoning ordinances and the main permit required was the occupancy permit. The lab had to be in an area zoned commercial or industrial. There were the usual life safety requirments about exit doors and emergency lighting.

There was no involvement of law enforcement at all.

We of course had a business license.

Flammable liquid storage and use was a big issue. A special storage room with explosion proof ventilation and lighting had to be constructed.

There were visits by the city zoning inspector and the insurance company inspector.

The process was set up so that if you followed NFPA 30 (Flammable Liquids) and NFPA 45 (Fire Protection in Laboratories) that it was very difficult for the local government inspectors to find any significant problems. Those NFPA reports were at one time posted on the forum.

The fire department made an annual, unannounced inspection to be sure that we were doing things the way we said we would.
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ripple
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[*] posted on 22-3-2012 at 14:35


Thanks entropy, exactly the kind of experience I was looking for. From what I've seen, Canadian and American standards are often shared.

I've been looking into the idea but there's a frustrating lack of information about the process. Its almost like there's an assumption that all chem companies have already been created, and any legit new ones will just be subs of the majors, so the process is just old hat to them and left a mystery to the rest of us.

I'll be in touch with the local FD to nail down their requirements and work from there. I'm just scared S***LESS about getting investors together and gear purchased, just to have it all trashed cause I wasn't aware of some obscure municipal form.

Anyone else have any info? I'll share any info I find in my own digging with the community, I just don't have anything of my own worth contributing at this point.

Thanks
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bquirky
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[*] posted on 22-3-2012 at 14:48


I think you raised a good point with insurance..

why dont you contact an insurance broker and find out what you need to be insurable my bet is that if you meat the insurance company's requirements you will be fine (after all the insurance company is betting that you will be fine)

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[*] posted on 22-3-2012 at 15:52


Ya, I'm hoping that this will end up becoming a how-to guide for creating an insured and registered hobby lab for home chemists on the cheap, in the interest of separating the wheat from the chaff... ahem.

So far, it seems that isolation (from a zoning perspective) and fire hazard mitigation are the main regulatory hurdles. Beyond that, building a relationship with major suppliers is more to do with meeting their specific reqs.

The insurance companies I've spoken to wont insure any glassware for a reasonable price, for obvious reasons... but at least properly setting everything else up will limit the risk of breakage to your own clumsiness, and not brutish intrusions of misguided LE officials. Other equipment (chromatographs, microscopes, etc) are insurable to a limited extent, though they do seem reluctant to insure any lab equipment.

Since zoning and housing are the main financial burdens, it seems like there might be an opportunity for creating lab co-ops/clubs to share the overhead of a proper space... even share some of the gear maybe. Keeping everyone on the level might be a challenge though.
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 14-4-2012 at 18:50


Some of the relevant codes have become available. See this thread for more detail.
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