Office of the Fire Marshal’s communiqués 2022
Read the Fire Marshal's communiqués 2022 distributed to all Ontario fire departments to convey high priority fire safety information.
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Firefighter certification Legacy Information and Application package
October 17, 2022
On July 1, 2022, Ontario Regulation 343/22: Firefighter Certification came into force under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act 1997. This regulation is an important step to ensure consistency in firefighter training and education through minimum certification levels.
Embedded in O. Reg. 343/22 is the ability for the Fire Marshal to grant a letter of compliance with the certification standard to firefighters for several fire protection services (Items 1-7or 9-15) listed in Table 1 of the regulation. Letters of compliance are not available for full National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards or levels that are accredited under International Fire Service Accreditation Congress or ProBoard. Letters of compliance only apply to the Ontario Seal program that was developed as part of the regulation.
Today, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) is releasing a Legacy Information and Application package for the fire service. This outlines details of the legacy process the OFM will be following for the Fire Marshal to grant Letters of Compliance under O. Reg. 343/22.
The primary legacy application window will open on January 1, 2023 and remain open until March 31, 2023. A second follow-up window will be opened from July 1, 2023 until September 30, 2023. Applications will be accepted during either application window; however, fire chiefs are encouraged to apply during the primary window so that they can re-apply if there are any deficiencies noted during the primary review period. No applications will be accepted after September 30, 2023.
The OFM will be randomly auditing applications received from each fire department. The fire chief will receive a notification email for those selected for audit and have 10 business days to submit the training documentation to support the request for a Letter of Compliance. Additional details are included in the legacy package.
For clarity, any past OFM letters of compliance issued for NFPA standards or levels will continue to be accepted for the corresponding certification standard set out in Column 2 of Table 1 of O. Reg. 343/22.
A unique application form is required for each level being applied for. During the application windows, the application form can be sent to OFMLegacy@Ontario.ca
To get the application form or if you have any questions about the legacy process, please contact John Snider at email@example.com.
The use of intermodal shipping containers in firefighter training
Over the past several years, the use of intermodal shipping containers (often called “sea cans”) as permanent structures / buildings has been on the rise. These buildings are used in a variety of applications and are frequently used by fire services to house fire training activities including live fire training.
When used as permanent buildings for fire training activities, modifications to the containers are frequently introduced to allow for the connection or stacking of multiple containers and for the addition of windows, doorways, and stairs.
These types of modifications have the potential for affecting the structural integrity of the intermodal shipping container. Structural integrity, along with other elements of building safety, must be considered for the safety of firefighters occupying these buildings.
Standards such as NFPA 1402: Standard on Facilities for Fire Training and Associated Props (2019) are available to provide some best practice information on fire training facilities, however, it should be noted that structures comprised of intermodal shipping containers may be subject to requirements under the Ontario Building Code and Building Code Act, 1992. As such, where fire training structures comprised of intermodal shipping containers are being designed, constructed, or used, fire services are advised to consult with the local Chief Building Official to determine applicable requirements.
Return to total evacuation fire drills in schools during 2022-23 academic year
I am pleased to advise that Fire Marshal Directive 2020-001 (revised date: August 3, 2021) Total Evacuation Fire Drills in Schools During COVID‑19 Pandemic, is rescinded effective August 15, 2022. This Communiqué replaces Fire Marshal’s Communiqué 2021-07 Fire Drills and the Safe Re-Opening of Schools, issued on August 3, 2021, which is now also rescinded.
As such, school boards will return to pre-pandemic total evacuation fire drill procedures in schools during the 2022-23 school year, consistent with the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code (Ontario Regulation 213/07, as amended). These procedures are specific to individual schools and are documented in fire safety plans that are approved by local Chief Fire Officials. The return to pre-pandemic total evacuation fire drill procedures will also apply to private schools, to extended day programs or third-party programs, and to day nurseries (e.g., child care centres) that are operated in schools and provide services to children that are pupils of a board (e.g., before- and after-school programs).
The decision to return to pre-pandemic procedures respecting total evacuation fire drills in schools has been made in consultation with the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
For further information, please contact your local fire protection adviser.
Assistant to the Fire Marshal designations and training
In December 2021, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) advised all Fire Chiefs and municipal clerks of impending changes with respect to the issuance of cards formally designating persons as assistants to the Fire Marshal under Section 11 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (the act).
These changes include:
- Issuing assistant to the Fire Marshal designation cards annually instead of every three years.
- Issuing assistant to the Fire Marshal designation cards only to persons who require them. Persons who are automatically considered to be an assistant to the Fire Marshal in accordance with the provisions of the act s. 11(1)(a), (b), and (c) will not be issued a card.
- Persons who require the designation as an assistant to the Fire Marshal under the act s. 11(1)(d) will be required to complete online training provided by the OFM prior to being issued a designation card.
Assistant to the Fire Marshal training
As the act establishes specific powers and duties for assistants to the Fire Marshal, these designated persons must have knowledge about the provisions of the act, the Provincial Offences Act R.S.O. 1990 Chapter P.33, as well as Fire Marshal directives and technical guidelines to effectively carry out their responsibilities in this role.
Section 11(1) of the act states the following people are assistants to the Fire Marshal and shall follow any directives in carrying out this act:
- the fire chief of every fire department
- the clerk of every municipality that does not have a fire department
- any member of a fire prevention bureau established by a municipality
- every person designated by the Fire Marshal as an assistant to the Fire Marshal
A new online course is now available to all assistants to the Fire Marshal. All persons who require the designation under the act will be required to complete this course prior to receiving the assistant the Fire Marshal designation. Persons who are automatically considered to be an assistant the Fire Marshal under Section 11 of the act may access this training as an option to enhance their current knowledge.
Starting January 1, 2023, fire departments or municipalities that wish to request an assistant to the Fire Marshal card must complete and submit the Request for Assistant to the Fire Marshal Identification Card form (accessible from local fire protection advisers) and attest that the person has:
- completed the required training provided by the OFM
- the necessary training and experience related to the legislative powers and associated duties of an assistant to the Fire Marshal
Revoking an existing card
When a member of the fire department who is an assistant to the Fire Marshal retires, resigns, or leaves their position within the fire department, the fire chief must retrieve and destroy the assistant to the Fire Marshal card and notify the OFM by email at OFMFDM@Ontario.ca.
Assistant to the Fire Marshal cards for those persons who require the designation by the Fire Marshal as per the act s. 11(1)(d) and have successfully completed the OFM training course will be issued an assistant to the Fire Marshal identification card via email in a PDF document.
Local fire departments and municipalities may wish to incorporate this card in any employee identification routinely carried by their staff in the course of their duties.
For all enquiries related to the new program, please contact your local fire protection adviser.
Constable Joe Macdonald Public Safety Officers’ Survivors Scholarship Fund
The Constable Joe Macdonald Public Safety Officers’ Survivors Scholarship Fund was established in 1997 to recognize the tremendous sacrifice made by our public safety officers and their families to keep Ontario safe. The scholarship is available to spouses and children of public safety officers killed in the line of duty. The scholarship may be used for tuition, textbooks and eligible living expenses for programs leading to a degree or a diploma at an approved Canadian post-secondary educational institution.
The purpose of the present communiqué is to inform you of the availability of the scholarship and to provide information on how to obtain an application form and application guidelines. Please note that the due date for submission of applications is May 31, 2022.
For the purpose of the scholarship, “public safety officers” includes all firefighters (full-time, part-time and volunteer) as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
Please forward information about the scholarship to the attention of the appropriate areas and/or persons for distribution.
Anyone who meets the criteria for this scholarship and wishes to obtain both the application guidelines and/or the application form (English or French) should also contact Yoko.
Additionally, written enquiries can also be sent to her attention at the address below:
Yoko Iwasaki, Community Safety Analyst
Program Development Section
External Relations Branch, Public Safety Division
Ministry of the Solicitor General
25 Grosvenor Street, 12th floor
Toronto ON M7A 2H3
Lastly, grant funding is subject to the ministry receiving the necessary appropriation from the Ontario Legislature.
Amendments to O. Reg. 144/20
April 27, 2022
On April 27, 2022, amendments to O. Reg.144/20 made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act came into force.
The amended regulation allows for a time-limited continuation of measures that exempt temporary health or residential facilities from compliance with certain requirements of the Fire Code.
In addition, new provisions clarify how the Fire Code applies to buildings containing temporary health or residential facilities. Specifically, the regulation establishes that while temporary health or residential facilities are exempt from Fire Code requirements that might compel building upgrades, they continue to be subject to other requirements, including those applicable to buildings containing vulnerable occupants.
The Office of the Fire Marshal has also made corresponding consequential amendments to Fire Marshal’s Directive 2014-002 (Vulnerable Occupancies - Fire Drill Scenarios, Fire Drill Observations, Fire Safety Inspections) to reflect this clarification.
The amendments to O. Reg. 144/20 are aligned with changes made to the Ontario Building Code through O. Reg. 434/22. Together these measures will facilitate continued flexibility in Ontario’s health and shelter systems in support of COVID-19covid 19 pandemic response and recovery efforts.
Enquiries regarding O. Reg. 144/20 or Directive 2014-002 may be directed to Office of the Fire Marshal via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by Fire Services to their Fire Protection Adviser.
Municipal reimbursement program for emergency response into unincorporated Ontario
March 22, 2022
On March 19th, 2022 Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced the launch of a new program to assist municipalities with costs associated with providing emergency responses in unincorporated Ontario in areas that are not already protected by a fire service.
Emergency response call types that may be eligible for reimbursement include:
- motor vehicle collisions occurring on roads that are not considered provincial highways by the Ministry of Transportation
- carbon monoxide
- hazmat (excluding those calls occurring on roads maintained by the Ministry of Transportation)
- structure fires
- false alarms
- rescue (defined as an emergency incident that primarily involves activities directed at locating and rescuing endangered persons and removing those persons to a safe location, this could also include but is not limited to the provisions of emergency medical care)
Applications for reimbursement for emergency response calls that occur between April 1st, 2021 – March 31st, 2022 must be submitted by May 31st, 2022.
Applications for reimbursement for emergency response calls that occur between April 1st, 2022 – March 31st 2023 can be submitted beginning June 15th, 2022.
Municipalities who are interested in participating in the new reimbursement program which will be administered through the Office of the Fire Marshal are encouraged to request a copy of the required Transfer Payment Agreement from their local Fire Protection Adviser and visit the Government of Ontario funding opportunities site to apply.
For all enquiries related to the new program please contact your local Fire Protection Adviser.
Fire Marshal directive 2022-001: Use of information on lightweight construction to inform fire suppression pre-planning activities
February 25, 2022
On February 25, 2022, the Fire Marshal of Ontario issued directive 2022-001 specifying that certain Assistants to the Fire Marshal are required to use information on the presence of truss and lightweight construction systems (commonly referred to as lightweight construction) in a community’s building stock, that is known and documented in the Community Risk Assessment (CRA), to inform fire suppression pre-planning activities.
The intent of Fire Marshal’s Directive 2022-001 is to provide firefighters with the necessary information about a building’s structural composition to plan fire suppression activities and help ensure their safety.
On May 8, 2018, O. Reg. 378/18 was filed, and it came into force on July 1, 2019. The regulation requires that by July 1, 2024, every municipality and every fire department in a territory without municipal organization complete a CRA and use it to inform decisions on the provision of fire protection services.
The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) has revised OFM Technical Guideline 2019-02 (Community Risk Assessment) to ensure its alignment with directive 2022-001. Identifying the presence of lightweight construction where it is known to exist in a community’s building stock, is required
Enquiries regarding directive 2022-001, revised technical guideline TG-02-2019 or O. Reg. 378/18 may be directed to Office of the Fire Marshal via email to email@example.com or by Fire Services to their Fire Protection Adviser.
- footnote Back to paragraph Section 2. (3) of the regulation requires that a CRA be in the form, if any, that the Fire Marshal provides or approves. The minimum expected level of information and detail that must be considered with respect to each of the mandatory profiles is outlined in Worksheets 1–9 included in Appendix A of TG-02-2019. While different styles and formats of the worksheets may be used, the information that is collected and considered for each profile must at minimum include the information outlined in the Appendix A worksheets.