Roles and responsibilities

Question 1:

What is the role of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes?

Answer to question 1:

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) is an independent committee of volunteers established by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to provide direction and oversight on the development of the National Model Construction Codes. The CCBFC oversees the work of several standing committees, special purpose committees, and task groups involving more than 400 volunteers chosen from across the country for their individual interests and expertise. Its nine standing committees are responsible for developing and improving the technical content of the codes and related documents, such as user's guides, thereby helping to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The CCBFC works in partnership with provincial and territorial regulatory authorities to promote uniform adoption and understanding of the model codes by responding to their needs and priorities and facilitating the resolution of issues.

Question 2:

Who serves on the CCBFC and how are they selected?

Answer to question 2:

The CCBFC is made up of voting and non-voting members from across Canada. These members appointed by NRC. Voting members, non-voting major partner members, the Vice-Chair and the CCBFC Chair are appointed on the recommendation of the CCBFC Selection Committee.

Voting members (numbering at least 27, including the Chair) are volunteers who represent, in a balanced way, regulatory authorities, general public interests and industry from all regions of Canada.

Major partner non-voting members comprise representatives of the Canadian Steel Construction Council, the Canadian Wood Council, the Cement Association of Canada, NRCan, and a standards development organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. There are also two ex officio non-voting liaison partners (the Chairs of the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes and the

Canadian Commission on Construction Materials Evaluation). The other ex officio non-voting members comprise Standing Committee Chairs, the Deputy Chair (Manager, NRC Codes Canada), the NRC Construction Research Centre Policy Advisor (Director, NRC Building Regulations),and Secretary (the NRC Construction Research Centre staff member).

More information is available in the CCBFC Policies and Procedures document, which is available on request.

Question 3:

Given that the CCBFC has, in its membership, regulatory officials from provincial and territorial governments, how are their roles and responsibilities defined? Do they participate as individuals or as representatives of their respective governments?

Answer to question 3:

The roles and responsibilities of members of the CCBFC and its committees are the same for all categories of members. CCBFC members are expected to be broadly knowledgeable on Code-related matters and able to exercise objective judgments as well as independent decisions regarding CCBFC business. Members do not serve as proponents of any particular employer or group and do not provide preferential treatment to anyone in any official manner. Members are expected to act honestly and in good faith. They are also expected to use confidential information only for the purposes of the CCBFC.

Conditions of serving on the CCBFC or its committees are described in more detail in the CCBFC Policies and Procedures document, which is available on request.

Question 4:

What is the role and mandate of the provinces and territories?

Answer to question 4:

Canada's constitution gives the provinces and territories jurisdiction over construction, making them key partners in Canada’s National Model Construction Code Documents development system. Some cities also have this authority through a special relationship with their provincial authority. As a result, provincial and territorial authorities having jurisdiction are responsible for adopting and enforcing laws and regulations, providing interpretation of these laws and regulations, providing training and education, and establishing roles and responsibilities of trades people and professionals.

Question 5:

What is the role and mandate of the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC)? To whom is it accountable for its policy advice?

Answer to question 5:

The Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC) is a committee made up of senior representatives appointed by provincial and territorial deputy ministers that provides policy advice to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes. This forum gives the provinces and territories the opportunity to provide guidance on the scope, content, format, and development process of the Codes.

Question 6:

Is there a formal agreement among governments which sets out the role and purpose of National Model Construction Codes, and the commitments and expectations of provincial and territorial governments in relation to them?

Answer to question 6:

Yes. There are formal agreements between the various levels governments that set out roles and responsibilities, as well as commitments and expectations, with respect to the National Model Construction Codes. They include provisions for producing, selling and adopting the codes. These agreements, however, are between governments and are therefore not public.

Question 7:

Does the CCBFC provide advice to provincial governments when the latter are considering changes to their building codes? If so, how is this done?

Answer to question 7:

The officially released National Model Construction Code documents represent the sole advice of the CCBFC. The CCBFC does not provide other advice, but the Commission does maintain an ongoing dialog with the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC), and both parties sit in on each other’s meetings. Through that dialog, the CCBFC is informed of code changes that the provinces and territories are contemplating, and vice versa.

Question 8:

If a province or territory determines that a national code change is either acceptable or unacceptable, how does this affect the decision of the CCBFC? Can objections from a province or territory prevent the CCBFC from adopting a proposed code change?

Answer to question 8:

The process for determining if a code change is accepted depends on the situation and can vary considerably. The provinces and territories are consulted and provide input on proposed code changes. If a large majority of jurisdictions support a proposed change, it normally proceeds through all considerations. If, from an administrative or policy point of view, some jurisdictions are concerned about a proposal that has received support through public review, the CCBFC will try to further address the concerns through an ad hoc committee. The committee will attempt to find a solution that may procure a greater consensus. Consensus, however, does not imply unanimity. If a strong consensus is not possible, the proposal will normally be withdrawn so as not to create disharmony. If the concern relates to a technical issue, the proposal has a good chance of surviving but may be revised to address the concern.

Question 9:

What is the role of NRC?

Answer to question 9:

NRC establishes the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), an independent committee of volunteers responsible for developing and maintaining the National Model Construction Codes, based on broad consultation and consensus principles. Through the NRC Construction Research Centre, NRC provides technical, research and administrative support to the CCBFC and its committees. It publishes the National Model Construction Codes on behalf of the Commission, as well as some of the provincial codes based on the national models on behalf of the jurisdictions.

NRC staff serving on CCBFC committees have no voting privilege. NRC does not control what goes into the national model codes or the provincial/territorial codes based on those models, as it is the provinces and territories that have jurisdiction over construction in Canada.

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