Ontario declares May as ‘Building Safety Month’
Health & Safety Building Codes Construction ontario
The Ontario government has declared May to be Building Safety Month.
“Building Safety Month is an excellent opportunity to highlight the important role Ontario’s building officials play in protecting public safety and tackling Ontario’s housing supply shortage,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “It is also a time to reflect on the many ways Ontario’s Building Code impacts our daily lives — from establishing safety standards for our homes to ensuring people have barrier-free access to buildings, restrooms and other public spaces as we work to build 1.5 million homes by 2031.”
Ontario’s Building Code establishes high standards for construction to keep people safe, including requirements for fire safety devices, accessibility, structural sufficiency and water and energy conservation.
It is updated regularly to reflect technical advancements, expert research and government priorities. The government works closely with its partners in the sector — building officials, fire prevention officials, architects, engineers, builders and the construction industry — to ensure that Ontario’s buildings continue to be some of the safest and most accessible in North America, it said.
“Every day, Ontario’s building officials play a critical role in ensuring the safety of homes and buildings in municipalities across the province,” said Lawrence Wagner, CEO of the Ontario Building Officials Association. “We like to refer to them as ‘guardians of building communities’ and we’re pleased that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is proclaiming May as Building Safety Month across Ontario to recognize their important contributions and the importance of the Ontario Building Code.”
Changes to code
The province is making changes to Ontario’s Building Code to unlock housing, reduce barriers and help speed up housing construction, it said.
The changes are designed to make it easier to use innovative construction materials and techniques that can save time and money, including allowing encapsulated mass-timber construction for buildings up to 12-storeys tall. The province also streamlined modular multi-unit residential building requirements so they can be quickly assembled and occupied. The government is also encouraging innovative approaches to homeownership and increasing housing supply — such as tiny homes, second units and laneway housing.
Last year, Ontario introduced a new digital Building Code compendium that can be used on mobile phones and tablets, making it easier to use on construction sites and in remote areas. The province is also working to better align Ontario’s Building Code with the National Construction Codes. Increased harmonization of construction codes will help reduce red tape and overcome barriers related to trade, product manufacturing, and building design and maintenance, supporting market standardization across the country.
The government said it recognizes that labour shortages are limiting home construction. The province’s latest Housing Supply Action Plan, Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants, proposes to address the shortage of building inspectors by redesigning the qualification program and supporting uptake of the new internship program. Developing more tools and guidance materials would also help to make their jobs more efficient, it said.