Fire safety legislation and Ontario’s Fire Code
Learn about fire safety requirements that keep Ontario communities safe, and what to do if you receive an Order under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.
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The Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 creates the framework for fire protection in Ontario. This act addresses the following subjects:
- municipal responsibilities for Fire Protection Services
- the appointment and powers of the Fire Marshal
- establishing the Fire Code
- rights of entry in emergencies and fire investigations
- inspection powers
- offences and enforcement
- recovery of costs
- firefighters: employment and labour relations
- Fire Safety Commission
- Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council
The Ontario Fire Code, a regulation under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) applies across Ontario and consists of a set of minimum requirements for fire safety within and around existing buildings and facilities. The owner of the building is responsible for complying with the Fire Code, except where otherwise specified. Municipal fire departments enforce the Fire Code.
Order under the FPPA
Under sections 21(1) and 21(2) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, a fire department inspector has the authority to inspect land or premises to assess fire safety. If the inspector observes fire safety issues, they have the authority to issue an Order to the owner or occupant to do what is necessary to ensure fire safety at the location.
If you are served with an Order, it is important to either comply by the date set out in the Order or to request a review of it. If you do not comply or request a review, you may be subject to penalties in section 30 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.
Request the Fire Marshal to review an Order
Anyone who is aggrieved by the Order, or disagrees with any part of it, may make a request to the Fire Marshal for a review of the Order. For more information, see Part VI of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
You can make a request for a Fire Marshal Review if you:
- are disputing the action required by the Order
- are asking for additional time to comply with the Order
- disagree with the Order for any other reason
- You must make a request to the Fire Marshal for a review of an Order must in writing. The Fire Marshal must receive the request within 15 calendar days after the Order is served.
- If this deadline is missed or if more time is needed to make this request, you may apply to the Fire Marshal for an extension. The application for an extension must be received by the Fire Marshal within 30 calendar days after the Order is served. You must provide reasons why you need more time to request a review of the Order. You are not required to comply with the Order while it is under review by the Fire Marshal until a decision is issued, however, there may be exceptions where necessary for public safety.
The steps below outline how to request a Fire Marshal review of an Order, and what happens after you submit a request. Instructions on how to submit an application are also on the back of the Order.
Step 1: Submit a request for a Fire Marshal review
You can make a request to the Fire Marshal for a review of an Order, or an application to extend the time for requesting a review, online at Fire Marshal Review Application. You can complete the online application form and upload a copy of the Order as an attachment.
You can also get a copy of the “Application for a Fire Marshal Review of an Order” form by calling the Office of the Fire Marshal at
The application and Order may be sent by:
- Email: OFMEMReviews@ontario.ca
Fire Marshal – REVIEWS
Office of the Fire Marshal
25 Morton Shulman Avenue, 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON M3M 0B1
Step 2: Once the Fire Marshal receives your application
- Once the Office of the Fire Marshal receives a completed application form and copy of the Order, the Order will be reviewed to decide if it is eligible for review.
- The applicant and the fire department will receive an acknowledgement letter.
Step 3: Opportunity to provide additional information
- The applicant and the fire department will be given time to provide supporting information.
- The applicant may provide additional information to explain why they are requesting a Fire Marshal Review for the Order.
- The fire department may provide more information to further support the reasons and action required by the Order.
Step 4: Review and decision
- The Fire Marshal will assign the file to a Fire Marshal Delegate who will conduct a review. The Fire Marshal Delegate may:
- confirm the Order
- amend the Order
- rescind the Order
- make a new Order
- The review does not involve a scheduled hearing. However, either party may receive a call from the Fire Marshal Delegate to clarify information submitted.
- After the review, the Fire Marshal Delegate will issue a decision in writing to the applicant and fire department.
Step 6: After a decision is issued
- Should either party disagree with the decision issued by the Fire Marshal Delegate, an appeal to the Fire Safety Commission may be initiated.
- Instructions for initiating an appeal will be included with the decision.
Qualification requirements under the Fire Code
The Ontario Fire Code prescribes qualification requirements for certain people, which includes certain fire alarm technicians and owners/operators of designated occupancies. Individuals who perform the work listed below must successfully complete a program or course acceptable to the Fire Marshal. A summary of qualification requirements in the Fire Code is outlined below for each of these roles. More detailed information is available in section 1.2 of Division C of the Fire Code.
Where qualification requirements for persons performing work on fire protection systems are not specified in the Fire Code, please see technical guideline OFM-TG-03-2000, “Qualifications For Service Company Personnel.”
Fire alarm technicians
The Fire Code prescribes qualifications for fire alarm technicians that:
- test, inspect, repair, replace or alter fire alarm systems
- test and maintain interconnected smoke alarm systems
These technicians must successfully complete training through one of the following programs that are acceptable to the Fire Marshal:
- Fire Alarm Technician Training Program, Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA)
- Certi-Fire Alarm & Protection Certification Program, Electrical Contractors’ Association of Ontario (ECAO)
Owners/operators of designated occupancies
The Fire Code prescribes qualifications for owners/operators of:
- care occupancies
- care and treatment occupancies
- retirement homes regulated under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010
These owners/operations must successfully complete the following training that is acceptable to the Fire Marshal:
- Training to Enhance Fire Safety in Occupancies Housing Vulnerable Ontarians, Public Services Health and Safety Association
Requesting changes to the Fire Code
Developing and maintaining the Fire Code is complex and technical. New editions of the Fire Code are published approximately every five years, with interim amendments as needed.
Updating the Fire Code involves:
- updating standards to reflect new technologies
- addressing provincial priorities
- achieving, to the degree possible, harmonization with the National Fire Code of Canada
- managing a system that enables code users to propose changes online
- holding public and stakeholder consultations regarding proposed code changes
Codes and standards play an important part in making Ontario a safer place to live and work. Individuals or groups can submit requests for changes to the Fire Code at any time. Requests for changes will be reviewed and may be included in the next edition of the Fire Code. Requests may also be shared for consideration in the development of the National Fire Code of Canada. In some cases, interim amendments may be put into effect if appropriate.
The Fire Code makes reference to and requires compliance with specified standards from Canadian, American and international organizations. The standards referenced in the Fire Code can be obtained through the following issuing agencies:
- Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB)
- Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI)
- Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
- Standards Council of Canada
- Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)
- Transport Canada (TC)
- Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC)
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- American Petroleum Institute (API)
- American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- Compressed Gas Association (CGA)
- Global Engineering Documents (IHS)
- International Code Council (ICC)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
Fire Code Compendium
The Fire Code Compendium is a published resource that includes in one reference volume:
- the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA)
- Regulations made under the FPPA, including the Fire Code
- the Fire Code Supplement FCS-1
- appendices, tables, explanatory notes, and indices
Technical guidelines and reports
Technical guidelines and reports on key topics support the interpretation, understanding and adoption of fire safety and fire prevention standards. Technical documents are published when appropriate and as needed.
These documents are available upon request and in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.
- Community Risk Assessment Guideline (TG-02-2019)
- questions and answers
- sample worksheets
- Maintenance of Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (TG-01-2019)
- Fire Drills (TG-04-2016)
- Staffing Levels in Care Occupancies, Care and Treatment Occupancies and Retirement Homes (TG-03-2016)
- Fire Alarm Audibility in Existing Residential Occupancies (TG-02-2016)
- Fire Safety Planning for Industrial Occupancies (TG-01-2016)
- Fire Safety Inspections and Enforcement (TG-01-2012)
- Safe Practices for the Use of Alcohol-Based Hand Rub (TG-02-2011)
- Handling Flammable and Combustible Liquids in School Laboratories (TG-01-2011)
- Commencing Proceedings Under Part I of the Provincial Offences Act (TG-02-2009, revised 2010, 2015)
- Outdoor Patio Fire Safety (TG-03-2007)
- Hotel Retrofit Building Audit (Single Storey Strip Motel/Hotel) (TG-02-2007)
- Hotel Retrofit Building Audit (Comprehensive) (TG-01-2007)
- Obtaining an Entry Warrant Under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act (TG-02-2004)
- Assessing Existing Fire Separations and Closures (TG-04-2002)
- Preparation of a Smoking Policy in Long-Term Care Facilities (TG-03-2002)
- Use of Schools for Sleeping Accommodation (TG-01-2002, revised 2012)
- Retail Display and Storage of Swimming Pool Chemicals (TG-01-2001)
- Qualifications For Service Company Personnel (TG-03-2000, revised 2016)
- Criteria and Process for Evaluating Programs for Training of Persons Testing, Inspecting and Maintaining Fire Alarm Systems (TG-04-1999)
- Fire Protection Water Supply Guideline For Part 3 Of The Ontario Building Code (TG-03-1999)
- Fire Safety Planning for Institutional Facilities (TG-02-1999)
- Fire Safety Planning for Recycling Facilities and Waste Processing Operations (TG-06-1998)
- Storage of Wood Chips (TG-03-1998)
- Guidelines for Stairwell Signs in Multi-Storey Buildings (TG-00-1998)
- Fire Safety Planning Guideline for Residential Care Facilities (TG-00-1997)
- Report on Improving Carbon Monoxide Safety for Ontarians (2014)
- Report on Improving Fire Safety for Vulnerable Ontarians (2013)
- Reducing Residential Stovetop Fires in Ontario (2009)