Modernizing Fire Regulations in Ontario
Under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, municipal governments are mandated to deliver fire protection services including fire suppression and public education about fire safety and prevention. As of today, there are 442 fire departments across Ontario, employing over 30,000 firefighters – the majority of which work as volunteers (60%).
In spring 2018, the previous government announced new regulations related to fire safety that were of concern to municipal governments. The regulations had come out of a multi-stakeholder advisory group formed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
AMO concluded that the new regulations related to training and certification and public reporting were not balanced and would require increased resources and costs to implement, drawing away resources for frontline service.
In response to municipal concerns advocacy, the new provincial government revoked the regulations related to training and certification in October 2018. However, the public reporting regulation has not been repealed. If enacted in January 1, 2020, the regulation will require every municipality to report on response and travel time using data from the Office of the Fire Marshal or their own sources.
AMO’s view is that the Public Reporting regulation cannot be practically implemented in its current form and is not evidence-based. AMO encourages the Ministry of the Solicitor General to conduct an overhaul of Ontario’s Standard Incident Reporting (SIR) framework before considering a Public Reporting regulation.
AMO has been supportive of the third new regulation related to community risk assessment regulation. AMO remains open to discussions on how to improve public and firefighter safety in Ontario. As employers of the fire services in this province, municipal governments are committed to identifying workable, evidence-based solutions with the Ministry of the Solicitor General and other stakeholder groups.