Rescinded - Policy on Fire Protection, Investigation and Reporting (Chapters 2-5)

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Fire-protection services involving Crown property are delivered by Labour Canada through the Fire Commissioner of Canada on behalf of the Treasury Board as employer, except to the Department of National Defence, where fire protection services are provided by the Canadian Forces Fire Marshall.

The Canada Occupational Safety and Health Regulations, made pursuant to Sections 125 and 126 of Part II of the Canada Labour Code, prescribe the basic minimum standards for health and safety, including certain fire safety standards. These regulations include the standards contained in Parts 3 to 9 of the National Building Code that are considered essential for the health and safety of employees, and the standards set out in Parts 6 and 7 of the National Fire Code. Should there be any inconsistency between these codes and standards, and the Canada Labour Code and its safety and health regulations, the provisions of the Canada Labour Code prevail.

The policy on fire protection, investigations and reporting includes the mandatory provisions for fire investigations and reporting of fires. The provisions describe the roles and responsibilities of departments for investigating and reporting fires involving government property and include reference to fire safety standards in force under the purview of the Treasury Board's personnel policies on occupational safety and health. The provisions are not intended to conflict with provincial or other legislation.

Policy objective

The objective of this policy is to protect the government's employees and property from fire risks.

Policy statement

It is government policy to ensure: the provision of fire-protection services; investigation of the cause and circumstances of any fire; implementation of fire-prevention measures; and maintenance of appropriate records to measure the effectiveness of fire risk management.


This policy applies to:

  • departments and departmental corporations named in Schedules I and II of the Financial Administration Act, except for the Department of National Defence; that department with respect only to the maintenance of records, and any other division or branch of the Public Service of Canada, including a Commission appointed under the Inquiries Act, designated by the Governor in Council as a department; and to other parts of the Public Service, as defined in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (referred to in this policy as "departments"); and
  • real or personal property under the administration and control of a department, including leased property (referred to in this policy as "Crown property").

Policy requirements

1 Departments must conform to:

  • the fire safety standards issued under the authority of the Treasury Board's personnel policies on occupational safety and health, and to the provisions for fire investigations and reporting of fires in Appendix A;
  • the National Fire Code of Canada, 1985, as amended periodically; and
  • the National Building Code of Canada, 1985, as amended periodically.

2. Departments proposing to acquire or lease a building, or to design, build or alter a building, must have the plans, drawings or specifications reviewed by Labour Canada to ensure conformance with fire standards and codes.


Labour Canada

Labour Canada and the Office of the Fire Commissioner of Canada are responsible for the provision of fire-protection services. The Fire Commissioner of Canada (Fire Commissioner) is considered the technical authority on fire protection. The Fire Commissioner is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Treasury Board policy, standards and those codes and regulations that cover fire protection under the Canada Labour Code. The Fire Commissioner also maintains records on, and prepares an annual summary report of, fire losses in Crown properties.

The fire-protection services delivered by Labour Canada through the Fire Commissioner include: inspections and fire investigations and reports; advice to Treasury Board on fire-protection policies; assistance and advice to departments on fire risk-management matters; liaison with fire, police, and judicial authorities to promote the cause of fire protection and fire investigation; and reviewing plans for the design and construction of buildings to ensure their conformity with fire-protection standards. The Fire Commissioner also provides guidance on materials, systems, design methods and construction procedures not described in the codes and standards, advises on cases where no recognized test procedure has been established, and records and reports the demand for fire-protection services from departments.

Departments and agencies

Deputy heads of departments and heads of agencies with delegated legislative authority to control or administer real or personal property, including leased property, are accountable for the protection of property. Employers, as defined in Part II of the Canada Labour Code, are accountable for the health and safety of employees in the workplace. This includes complying with Treasury Board fire-protection policies and co-operating with Labour Canada on matters pertaining to fire protection.

Treasury Board

Treasury Board approves and communicates fire-protection policies or standards that may be required to complement the Canada Labour Code.


The Treasury Board Secretariat will review the effectiveness of this policy in assisting departments to manage the fire risks to which they are exposed. Feedback on the effectiveness and implementation of the policy will be obtained primarily from annual reports on fire losses in addition to the normal departmental monitoring information, internal audits, program evaluations and information available from other reports and government organizations.



Section 7 of the Financial Administration Act.


This policy cancels those sections concerning fire risks in chapters 530, 531 and 532 of the Administrative Policy Manual and TB Circular letter 1987-33.


Enquiries about fire-protection services should be directed to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Operations Program, Labour Canada.

Appendix A - Definitions

1. Definitions

Fire (Incendie) - any instance of destructive and uncontrolled burning, including explosion of combustible solids, liquids or gases. This definition restricts fire incidents to be reported to those that may cause injury or death to people and those that may destroy or damage property with a value that can be expressed in terms of dollars. Fire excludes the following, except where it causes property to catch fire or occurs as a consequence of fire:

  • lightning or electrical discharge;
  • explosions of steam boilers, hot-water tanks or other pressure vessels resulting from internal pressure (not internal combustion);
  • explosions of ammunition or other detonating materials;
  • incidents involving ships, aircraft, or other vehicles;
  • forest fires;
  • grass, brush or rubbish fires, except for harvestable products; and
  • overheat conditions (heat without self-sustained combustion).

Fire death (Déces par incendie) - a death of a person at the scene of a fire or who dies as a result of fire, while involved in the activities of fire control, rescue attempts, or escaping from the dangers of fire.

Fire injury (Blessures par incendie) - an injury to a person at the scene of a fire that requires (or should require) medical treatment. It includes injury from accidental causes sustained while involved in fire control, rescue attempts, or escaping from the dangers of the fire.

Fire protection (Protection contre les incendies) - the protection of life and the safety of persons and property from fire, including everything relating to preventing, detecting, containing and extinguishing fire and alerting persons to its presence.

Qualified fire investigator (Enquêteur compétent) - a person who possesses the skills, knowledge and experience to effectively conduct fire investigations and who has successfully completed Levels I, II and III of the Canadian Fire Investigation School, or equivalent courses.

Government property (Biens de l'État) - real or personal property under the administration and control of a department, including leased property.

Appendix B - Provisions for Fire Investigation and Reporting of Fires

1. Departments

Departments must:

(a) within 12 hours of a fire's occurrence, advise the Fire Commissioner, through the applicable Labour Canada regional or district office, of every fire:

  • involving a fire death or fire injury;
  • of suspicious origin;
  • causing a loss of $250,000 or more;
  • causing a significant interruption of essential federal services;
  • necessitating immediate action to prevent a recurrence; or
  • involving a prestige or heritage building.

(b) within 14 days of a fire's occurrence or an alarm, using the relevant report form prescribed by Labour Canada:

conduct a preliminary examination of the fire and submit a report to the applicable Labour Canada regional or district office;

  • submit a fire casualty report for every fire death or injury;
  • submit reports of any formal fire investigations undertaken subsequent to the preliminary examination stage;
  • investigate and record fire alarms not triggered by fire.

(c) co-operate with and assist authorized fire investigators in performing the duties associated with this policy;

(d) implement recommendations resulting from fire investigations;

(e) estimate fire losses as follows:

  • losses involving property that is not to be replaced shall be reported on a depreciated book-value basis;
  • losses involving property of any description valued at $1,000 or less, and property that is to be replaced, shall be reported on a straight replacement-cost basis;
  • losses involving property of any description valued at over $1,000, and property that is to be replaced, shall be reported as the actual cash (i.e. market) value of the property at the time the loss occurred. Such loss values shall not exceed what it would cost to repair or replace the property with materiel of like kind and quality;
  • loss values shall include indirect loss values, such as costs of cleaning up and salvage, replacement of records, alternative accommodation and the like, but not use and occupancy or business-interruption losses; and
  • losses involving personal property on Crown property shall be included only if the Crown makes compensation for such losses.

(f) consult with the Fire Commissioner's office regarding the need for a building inspection after a fire.

2. Department of National Defence

The Department of National Defence must provide an annual fiscal-year report on the total number of fires, deaths, injuries and total property-loss values, for inclusion in the report Fire Losses in Government of Canada Properties. Losses shall be on the same basis as 1.1(e) above.

3. Office of the Fire Commissioner of Canada

The Fire Commissioner or an authorized representative is responsible for the administration and enforcement of these provisions. The Fire Commissioner may make suitable arrangements with other authorities regarding investigations and reporting of fire losses. The Fire Commissioner is specifically responsible for:

(a) investigating, or ensuring investigation by qualified fire investigators, of the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire;

(b) reviewing and processing all fire reports;

(c) monitoring and reporting to departments on the implementation of recommendations contained in reports such as those of fire investigations and coroners; and reporting to Treasury Board, with the comments of the department concerned, instances of non-compliance that are deemed in conflict with Treasury Board fire-protection policy or standards;

(d) assessing and applying the qualification criteria for fire investigators and determining the need to undertake formal fire investigations;

(e) correlating and disseminating national and federal fire-loss statistics;

(f) submitting to the Treasury Board, within 90 days of the fiscal year-end, a consolidated fiscal-year summary report of Fire Losses in Government of Canada Properties indicating:

  • any perceivable major trends in fire losses;
  • fire-prevention measures recommended to minimize such losses in future years;
  • the total number of fires, deaths and injuries and total property-loss values; and
  • a summary of major fire losses, including the locations and descriptions of the properties, the dates and causes of the fires, and the estimated losses.

Appendix C - List of Standards in Force

The following is a list of standards in force under the authority of the Treasury Board's personnel policies on occupational safety and health.

These standards are published as chapters in the "Occupational Safety and Health" volume of the Treasury Board Manual:

  • Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization
    (chapter 3-1)
  • Fire Protection Standard for Design and Construction
    (chapter 3-2)
  • Fire Protection Standard for Electronic Data Processing Equipment
    (chapter 3-3)
  • Standard for Fire Alarm Systems
    (chapter 3-4)
  • Standard for Fire Inspections
    (chapter 3-5)
  • Fire Protection Standard for Correctional Institutions
    (chapter 3-6)