May 9, 2013

The Ontario Government announces mandatory sprinklers in vulnerable occupancies.

At the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) Conference earlier this week, Premier Wynne stated that the government will make automatic sprinklers mandatory in all retirement and nursing homes and residences for the disabled in Ontario. Today, Minister of Community, Safety and Correctional Services, the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Linda Jeffery, provided further details on the amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code in an announcement.
 
Under the new proposed regulations, operators of homes will have five years to comply from when the legislation takes force on January 1, 2014. The expected changes will also require Ontario municipalities to maintain a registry of the "vulnerable occupancies" in their jurisdictions and require local fire departments to conduct annual inspections.

In April 2012, the Office of the Fire Marshal formed the Technical Advisory Committee on Vulnerable Occupancies (TAC) to undertake a technical review to examine long-term fire safety provisions for residences housing vulnerable Ontarians.  A report was then released in January 2013 listing recommendations for fire safety provisions for residences housing vulnerable Ontarians.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Office of the Fire Marshal, have committed to working with AMO and municipal representatives and through working groups, to inform the implementation of this initiative as it will affect municipal governments’ responsibilities.

AMO will continue to discuss the municipal impacts of the required implementation with the provincial government and we will keep members updated.