Fire Protection Standard

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1. Effective date

1.1 This standard takes effect on April 1, 2010.

1.2 This standard replaces the Treasury Board Policy on Fire Protection, Investigation and Reporting (1994-06-03).

2. Application

2.1 This standard applies to all departments within the meaning of section 2 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), unless specific acts or regulations override it.

2.2 Sections 6.1.6 and 6.1.7 do not apply to the Department of National Defence, for which fire protection services are provided by the Canadian Forces Fire Marshall pursuant to the Queen's Regulations and Orders issued under the authority of the National Defence Act.

3. Context

3.1 Further to the Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property, this standard establishes requirements for the departmental Fire Protection Coordinator with respect to the protection of federal real property and the safety of those who occupy and use these properties.

3.2 Fire protection is an essential and integral part of program and service delivery and key to public safety, real property protection and business continuity. Fire protection helps avert the interruption of government services that depend on physical infrastructure.

3.3 Fire protection is a continuous risk management process in which risks to real property and to the public are identified and reduced, and the costs and consequences of harmful or damaging incidents arising from those risks are minimized and contained. Fire protection relies on the collaborative efforts of federal custodians and tenants, private sector building owners and local fire services. Fire protection requires a comprehensive approach involving the application of building, fire, and occupational health and safety codes. These codes are primarily concerned with life safety and property protection. The National Building Code of Canada (NBC), the National Fire Code of Canada (NFC) and the National Farm Building Code of Canada (NFBC) prescribe the minimum standards for fire protection on federal property.

3.4 In most areas, local fire services provide firefighting and suppression services for federal real property; therefore, coordination and cooperation between departments and local fire officials is important. Furthermore, the application of local building and fire codes may be sufficient when their requirements are equivalent to or greater than the requirements of the national codes.

3.5 This standard is issued pursuant to section 7 of the FAA.

3.6 This standard is to be read in conjunction with the Policy on Management of Real Property.

3.7 Treasury Board has delegated to the President of the Treasury Board the authority to amend this standard.

4. Definitions

Applicable local codes
Are building and fire codes enacted in Canada by provinces, territories and municipalities and abroad by local jurisdictions that meet or exceed the requirements of the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada and the National Farm Building Code of Canada and are applied without contravening any federal statutes, laws or regulations and without prejudice to the Crown's legal and constitutional rights.
Departmental Fire Protection Coordinator
A senior official designated by the Deputy Head for the purpose of overseeing the implementation of the Fire Protection Standard.
Fire
Means any instance of destructive and uncontrolled burning of or in a federally owned or leased structure.
Fire protection
Means the protection of the life and safety of persons and real property from fire, including its prevention, detection, containment and extinguishment as well as alerting persons of its presence.
Serious fire

Is a fire that meets any of the following criteria:

  • Involves death or serious injury;
  • Results in a direct $250,000 loss or greater;
  • Causes a significant interruption of essential federal services;
  • Requires the suppression services of one or more local fire departments;
  • Necessitates immediate action to prevent reoccurrence; or
  • Damages the heritage character of one or more classified heritage buildings.
National Building Code of Canada
The 2005 version of the NBC (as amended periodically) sets out the requirements for the design and construction of new buildings. It also applies to the alteration, change of use and demolition of existing buildings.
National Fire Code of Canada

The 2005 version of the NFC (as amended periodically) sets out the requirements for the following:

  • Activities related to the construction, use or demolition of buildings and facilities;
  • The condition of specific elements of buildings and facilities;
  • The design or construction of specific elements of facilities and their relation to certain hazards; and
  • Protection measures for the current or intended use of buildings.
National Farm Building Code
The 1995 version of the NFBC (as amended periodically) outlines minimum requirements for human health, fire safety, and structural sufficiency in farm buildings.

Definitions found in Appendix A of the Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property also apply to this standard.

5. Standard statement

The objective of this standard is to protect and minimize losses to federal real property and protect the lives of those who use these properties from fire-related risks.

5.2.1 Sound fire protection practices are in place in departments to ensure the following:

  • The public is protected from fire-related injury on federal property;
  • Damage from or destruction by fire of federal real property assets is averted;
  • Fire-related interruption of federal program delivery is prevented; and
  • Federal legal liability and costs to the Crown for loss due to fire are limited.

6. Requirements

6.1 The Departmental Fire Protection Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the following:

6.1.1 That cooperation between the department and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) on matters related to fire protection is ongoing.

6.1.2 That real property in Canada administered by the department complies with the following:

  1. The fire protection requirements of the NFC, the NBC and the NFBC or of applicable local codes when the following takes place:
    • There is a change in the use of the real property;
    • Real property is acquired (including lease renewal) or new structures are constructed; or
    • Existing real property is altered; and
  2. The NFC or applicable local fire codes throughout the life cycle of the property.

6.1.3 That real property outside Canada administered by the department complies, to a reasonable and practical extent, with the following:

  1. The fire protection requirements of the NFC, the NBC and the NFBC or of applicable local codes when the following takes place:
    • There is a change in the use of the real property;
    • Real property is acquired (including lease renewal) or new structures are constructed; or
    • Existing real property is altered; and
  2. The NFC or applicable local fire codes throughout the life cycle of the property;

6.1.4 That fire protection equipment and systems under the department's operational control are inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the NFC and applicable local codes.

6.1.5 That fire protection equipment and systems installed to meet a tenant department's operational needs are compatible with the building's existing fire protection systems and are inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the NFC and applicable local codes.

6.1.6 That conditions of access to departmental real property respect the following:

  • The needs of local fire officials for the purpose of carrying out their duties and responsibilities; and
  • The specific security and operational requirements of the department.

6.1.7 That when there is a serious fire, the development and implementation of a fire investigation plan and the investigation itself are carried out in cooperation with local authorities (where appropriate).

6.1.8 That in the case of a fire occurring in a tenant-occupied space, the Departmental Fire Protection Coordinator of the custodian department administering the property is immediately advised.

6.2 Monitoring and reporting

6.2.1 In addition to the requirements above, Departmental Fire Protection Coordinators are responsible for monitoring compliance with this standard within their departments and ensuring appropriate remedial action is taken when deficiencies arise.

6.2.2 TBS is responsible for monitoring departments' compliance with this standard, the performance measurement requirements of the Policy on Management of Real Property and the achievement of expected results in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following:

  • Assessments under such systems of reporting as the Management Accountability Framework; and
  • Examination of Treasury Board submissions and departmental performance reports.

6.2.3 TBS will review this standard and its effectiveness three years after the standard comes into effect.

7. Consequences

7.1 The deputy head can take remedial action to respond to situations of non-compliance, which could involve, for example, directing that certain work be undertaken, providing input on the performance assessments of implicated employees and raising substantive concerns with TBS.

7.2 Consequences of non-compliance may include TBS issuing requests for information or any measure allowed by the FAA that TBS determines to be appropriate and acceptable under the circumstances.

8. Roles and responsibilities of government organizations

This section in and of itself does not confer an authority.

8.1 TBS is responsible for leading the fire protection community of practice, which enables the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

9. References

Legislation of particular importance to the interpretation of this standard includes the following:

This standard is to be read in conjunction with, among others, the following:

10. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy instrument to the organizational unit in your department responsible for this subject matter. For interpretation of this policy instrument, the responsible organizational unit should contact: TBS Public Enquiries.

Date Modified: