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FAQ’s

1)    Who is the Chief Fire Official and what is his/her role?  The Chief Fire Official means the Municipal Fire Chief or a member or members of the fire department designated by the Municipal Fire Chief or a person appointed by the Fire Marshal under the Ontario Fire Code.  The Fire Marshal may appoint persons who are assistants to the Fire Marshal to be Chief Fire Officials for the purposes and subject to the limitations and conditions as are set out in the appointment.  The Chief Fire Official has the authority to enforce the Ontario Fire Code.  He/She is the person who has the authority to approve equivalencies or provisions contained in the Ontario Fire Code.

2)    I cannot find the phone number for my "local" fire department, without dialing "911", can you help me?  The phone number for your local fire department can be found in the municipal blue pages of the phone book.  NEVER dial the 911 or Emergency phone number in non-emergency situations.  This could have life-threatening consequences for somebody else in an emergency situation.

3)    When do I call my local fire department and when do I call The Office of the Fire Marshal for fire safety information or inspections?  The local fire department should be called regarding any inspections that need to be performed.  Fire safety information can also be obtained from the fire department.  Remember to call the non-emergency number when requesting an inspection or fire safety information.

4)    I have a basement apartment, whom do I contact for information and an inspection?  The inspection of apartments (basement, highrise or lowrise) falls under the jurisdiction of the local fire department.  You should call your local department to request an inspection.

5)    Where can I find a copy of the 'Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) and the Ontario Fire Code on the internet?  The Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 and the Ontario Fire Code can be found on the E-laws website.  They are also available for purchase for Publications Ontario.

6)    What is a Life Safety Study?  A Life Safety Study is a detailed fire safety analysis prepared by an Architect or a Professional Engineer and is a proposal to the Chief Fire Official.
It consists of a detailed assessment of the life safety performance requirements that clearly identifies items not meeting the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code, a detailed description of how an acceptable level of life safety can be achieved and a detailed time schedule to implement the proposed upgrades.  The Chief Fire Official will review the Life Safety Study and can either approve or reject the proposal submitted to him/her.

7)    Are barbecues allowed on apartment balconies?  Article 2.6.3.4 of the Ontario Fire Code reads "Open air burning shall not be permitted unless approved (by the Chief Fire Official), or unless such burning consists of a small confined fire, supervised at all times and used to cook food on a grill or a barbecue".  The Ontario Fire Code currently does not have any restrictions on where the barbecue can be located.  However, the Ontario Propane and Natural Gas Codes would also be reviewed as do other jurisdictional requirements such as municipal by-laws and environmental regulations and by-laws.

8)    My neighbour is burning a pile of leaves in his yard.  Is this safe and is it allowed?  Article 2.6.3.4. of the Ontario Fire Code reads "Open air burning shall not be permitted unless approved (by the Chief Fire Official), or unless such burning consists of a small confined fire, supervised at all times and to cook food on a grill or a barbecue".

If a municipality is not located within a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) designated fire region, open air burning must meet the Fire Code.  In addition, if your municipality has a permit system, then a permit must also be obtained and the requirements followed.

If a municipality is located within a MNR designated fire region, open air burning must meet both the Forest Fires Prevention Act (FFPA) and Fire Code requirements.  A Ministry of Natural Resources burn permit is not required for small scale burning if certain conditions are met.  Otherwise, a permit is required and the MNR will evaluate the safety precautions proposed by an applicant before granting or denying a burn permit.  Also, the Fire Code requirement for approved burning must be satisfied.  In addition, if your municipality has a permit system, then a permit must be obtained and the requirements followed.

For more information on open air burning, see Communique #96-048 (December 17, 1996) OPEN AIR BURNING UNDER THE ONTARIO FIRE CODE AND THE AMENDED FOREST FIRES PREVENTION ACT.

9)    The smoke from my neighbour's chimney is blowing into my bedroom window. Isn't there something in the Fire Code that will stop this?  This is not a Fire Code issue.  However, it may be an issue with the  Ministry of the Environment.