It is important for housing providers to be familiar with fire safety legislation and to understand its administration and enforcement.
In Ontario, fire safety is governed by the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA). The Fire Code is a regulation under this Act. The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) administers both the Act and its regulations, while local fire departments are responsible for their enforcement.
Fire safety knowledge is an important part of complying with the legislation and maintaining safe buildings. Housing providers must also know their responsibilities to create and enforce a fire plan and conduct fire drills.
Fire safety legislation
Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
The FPPA came into effect in October 1997, providing municipalities with a framework for protecting Ontarians from fire.
Fire Code (O. Reg. 213/07)
The most recent version of the Fire Code came into effect in May 2007. It is a regulation under the FPPA and a companion document to the Ontario Building Code. Both of these codes ensure ongoing maintenance of fire safety systems.
The Fire Code outlines the minimum requirements of fire safety in buildings and their surrounding property. The property owner is responsible for complying with the Code, except when otherwise specified.
Administration and enforcement
The Office of the Fire Marshal
The OFM is a branch of the Public Safety Division of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Its role is to minimize the loss of life and property caused by fire in Ontario.
The OFM provides support to municipalities and local fire departments through public education, fire prevention, firefighting, fire protection, training and fire investigation. It also advises the provincial government on legislation and makes recommendations for maintaining fire safety in Ontario.
Local fire departments
Local fire departments enforce the Fire Code in their jurisdictions. The Code gives municipalities flexibility to create local fire bylaws, which must complement provincial legislation and must be approved by the chief fire official
Local fire departments aim to improve quality of life through public education and the prevention of fire. They also provide firefighting, pre-hospital medical assistance, support at traffic accidents and response to hazardous materials incidents.
Chief fire official
A chief fire official may be a municipal fire chief or a designated/appointed member of the fire department. A chief fire official has the authority to enforce the Fire Code and to approve provisions in the Code as well as local fire prevention bylaws.