Revised Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA) Training Program for Fire Alarm Technicians Questions & Answers

Revised Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA) Training Program for Fire Alarm Technicians
Questions and Answers

Q1: How does this revised training program differ from the previous CFAA training program for fire alarm technicians?

A1: Two significant changes have been introduced. The first requires that all technicians-in-training (Registered CFAA Trainee Technicians) must now successfully complete final ‘theory’ and ‘practical’ competency exams to become a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician.  This change ensures that, regardless of how a person has obtained his or her training and hands-on experience, all are able to demonstrate a standard level of competency prior to being recognized as a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician.

In regard to the second change, the revised program requires mandatory annual completion of continuing education units.  Mandatory continuing education modules will be available through various modes of delivery, including the Internet.

Q2: Will the Fire Code require fire alarm technicians to complete annually the continuing education units provided in this revised training program?

A2: Clauses 1.2.1.2.(1)(a) and 1.2.2.2.(1)(a) of Division C of the Fire Code require that fire alarm technicians who perform work on fire alarm systems and interconnected smoke alarm systems complete a training program or course acceptable to the Fire Marshal. The annual requirement of completing continuing education units is an integral part of the revised CFAA training program and is critical to the acceptance of the program. As such, fire alarm technicians will only be deemed to have ‘completed an acceptable program’ after completing the continuing education units each year.

Q3: What happens to fire alarm technicians who completed the previous CFAA fire alarm technician training program but who haven’t completed upgrade training programs offered by the CFAA?

A3: Fire alarm technicians who qualified under the former training program administered by the CFAA will no longer be recognized as meeting the requirements in Clauses 1.2.1.2.(1)(a) and 1.2.2.2.(1)(a) of Division C of the Fire Code as of January 1, 2017, unless they meet one of the following two requalification options:

Option 1:

Successful completion of the former CFAA training program, in combination with the following:

  • completion, as of January 1, 2016, of the required one year of Canadian work experience; and
  • completion of the technician’s Knowledge and Activity checklist, sponsored by an Ontario fire alarm technician currently registered with the CFAA or the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO); and
  • completion of all CFAA continuing education units required from the beginning of 2016 onward, and
  • (if Course 5, Fire Alarm Systems, was taken prior to January 1, 2010) successful completion of the Ontario Codes and Standards Update (CSU) course.

Option 2:

Successful completion of the current or former CFAA program, in combination with the following:

  • successful completion of the Theory Registration (Competence) Exam and the Practical Registration (Competence) Exam; and
  • completion of all CFAA continuing education units required from the beginning of 2016 onward.

Q4: How will a building owner or fire inspector know if a fire alarm technician is a registered fire alarm technician in good standing with the CFAA?

A4: A registered fire alarm technician in good standing with the CFAA will have a photo identification card with a valid expiry date, issued by the CFAA to confirm that the fire alarm technician has completed the required components of the fire alarm technician training program. Identification cards issued by the CFAA to fire alarm technicians who completed the former training program will be deemed acceptable until December 31, 2016. After December 31, 2016, only identification cards with a valid expiry date will be acceptable.

Q5: Is the CFAA registry of qualified fire alarm technicians publicly available?

A5: A registry is available on the CFAA Web site. The registry provides a means to validate a fire alarm technician's CFAA registration by entering the technician’s name. Fire alarm technicians who completed the former CFAA training program, but who are no longer registered with the CFAA, will continue to be recognized as meeting Fire Code requirements until December 31, 2016. After December 31, 2016, these technicians will no longer be considered as meeting Fire Code requirements unless they opt to pursue one of the requalification options (see question 3 above) and obtain registration with the CFAA.

See the CFAA Web page on this topic for additional information.

Q6: Are there any other fire alarm technician training programs in Ontario that are acceptable to the Fire Marshal?

A6: Yes. The Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) administers another fire alarm technician training program that has been accepted. Details are available on the ECAO Web site.