Guest Blogger: Why Should Canadian Chimney Sweeps Step Up & Become Certified By CSIA?

by Ian Myers

Ethics Are A Puffy Cloud Without a Standard of Practice.

I talk a lot about there being a lack of standards when it comes to Solid Fuel Inspections (in Canada). Even home inspectors in Ontario, being regulated by the province have a written Standard of Practice – whereby, if they “inspect or evaluate” wood burning appliances they clearly outline what they have not inspected relating to the installation such as internal areas, chimney lining etc. They are clear it is not their expertise. They usually charge a small fee to tag the service onto their general building inspection. The
home owner gets what they pay for.

What Consumers do not know is that those that they would consider “Hearth Professionals” do not have even that less challenging Standard – a duty to report that
which has not been inspected. Unless an Inspector, Sweep or Installer declares in writing their Standard of Practice – they are devoid of one. Those that advertise that they are “Certified” should be questioned about the details of their practices. Some high profile members of our industry in Canada will point to the fact that wood burning Inspection, Installation and Maintenance are mostly unregulated to justify a lack of oversight or guidance that they give to their “Certified”members in the field.

I am dismayed by this attitude since possessing a Standard of Practice is distinctly different than being controlled by a Governmental branch. This is a flimsy excuse when those in the field see first hand the negative results of unscrupulous service providers who are given the title of “Certified”, no Standards attached.

What those in the industry will talk about is their “Code of Ethics”, nothing more, just that. The natural evolution of any industry representative organization should begin first with a Mission Statement. From that a Code of Ethics will take shape. The next natural step is the Standard of Practice.

In the hearth industry, when consumers have complaints about the services provided to them they should be able to voice their concerns and have them addressed. In the least the provider of the service should find correction from the process – should they be in error whereas the consumer is concerned.

This is in no way what could be called “Regulation” – simply, adherence to and promotion of the agreed upon Standard of Practice. A Code of Ethics alone does not suffice to protect consumers and promote growth and learning among them that wish to represent themselves as professional. What I am outlining here at minimum is the very movement and mechanism of professional conduct.

Any organization using the term “Certified” for it’s members is implying a high water mark of skills among it’s membership as well as a defined Standard of Practice. If practitioners cannot specify how they behave with respect to different system configurations or circumstances- such as Real Estate transactions requiring a Level 2 inspection, with logical reasons why this is so – then can they be called
professional? Having a Code of Ethics that states one must be professional with no defining terms is a deception.

CSIA is a fully evolved professional organization. Certified Sweeps are positively driven to professional development on all fronts. Interaction with consumers and business organization is just as important as technical knowledge in the field. The Standard of Practice for CSIA Certified Sweeps is the NFPA 211, 14-15 Standard For Chimney Maintenance and Inspection. The practitioner of the Standard and Consumer both are directed and protected by it’s dictates. Clearly and concisely the responsibilities of the service provider are spelled out in plain terms.

The willingness to engage in constant self improvement, skills development and prosperity is infectious within the culture of The Chimney Safety Institute of American & The National Chimney Sweep Guild. There simply is no comparable professional Chimney Organization(s) in North America.

Ethical behavior is a natural byproduct of having a step by step Standard of Practice Process that is as clear to Employers and Employees as it is to Consumers. If you are from the Canadian Hearth Industry involved in the Inspection and Maintenance of Solid Fuel Burning Appliances- you need to educate yourself on this topic. Visit: today for more information.

Ian Myers is a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® and operates Myers Chimney in Minden, Ontario, Canada. He can be reached via his website at

The reviews presented here are not necessarily the views of the Chimney Safety Institute of America and are solely those of the author.



4 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Why Should Canadian Chimney Sweeps Step Up & Become Certified By CSIA?

  1. Yes it is fantastic training and should be North American Wide as the Canadian Certification does not do Hands-On Training, which I feel is needed in the Canadian Market.
    I have studied the CSIA manuals but have never utilized the Certification as it is not Canadian Recognized.

    But when WETT was started I was informed that it replaced the …..
    Qualification Code for Chimney Sweep Technicians, Installers, and Inspectors of Solid Fuel Burning Systems
    Specifies the minimum qualifications, in terms of performance objectives, of personnel responsible for the installation,servicing and inspection of solid fuel burning systems of the type covered by CSA Standard B365-M1982. This standard also specifies the minimum qualifications, in terms of performance objectives, of personnel responsible for chimney sweeping and venting maintenance.
    Was replaced by the WETT Training System/
    So that would be our SOPs.

    Maybe take this up with WETT Inc??


  2. Hi ChimneyChick (Yvette)
    I have made ever effort to not mention the WETT brand or any other brand in my piece (other than CSIA) Instead focusing on the fact that Chimney Sweeps and techs in Canada are not encouraged by any recognised Agency to adhere to a Standard of Practice that distinctly defends the rights of Canadian Consumers. What CSIA has to offer Canadian Sweeps is a Step by Step Standard that permeates the full host of a chimney sweeps professional activities. For example, while sweeping – common sense inspection Standards extend to the areas of the chimney system that are revealed to the sweep while working. This is just one small example. Inspection of a chimney system is not separate from any other activity. Likewise, an “Inspector”, the concept of the inspection process is not ever severed from it’s closest cousin- maintenance. It is simply bad wisdom to believe and propagate the concept that a non-technical inspector can meet the needs of a new home buyer or seller (one example) It is equally incorrect to allow a sweep to perform an inspection for Real Estate purposes where they are not expected or required to look into the flue, firebox or attic. What I submit is that all true chimney sweeps comprehend this- CSIA as an organization understand this – have erected the timbers of their structure upon this foundation.
    Concerning CSIA being recognized in Canada. In almost all of my advertising I use only the CCS logo. In all of my inspection reports I use only the CCS logo and my CSIA Certification number- as well, I submitted my CSIA Certification to my insurance company for my CGL and Errors & Omission coverage. So, education and promotion would be my answer to that point.
    If I had known I could have been a CSIA Certified Sweep 10 years ago – I would have done so. Let me just add – I am incredibly grateful that CSIA allows Canadians to become Certified as well!
    Thank You for Commenting Yvette & Canadian Chimney- Love the Name!

    Ian Myers

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very happy to report that WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) has shown an outstanding commitment to addressing the issues that I have raised in this article.
    There have been many involved in this tremendous progress; too many to mention, but I will name a few you may know:
    Brian Yanik, Martin Aube, Zigi Gadomski, Yvette Aube

    I tip my sweeps hat to you all!


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