Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Review of Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Review of Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Communiqué 2014-19

October 23, 2014

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) is undertaking a comprehensive review of all OFMEM Public Fire Safety Guidelines (PFSGs). Many PFSGs were used as the basis for the development of some OFMEM programs, technical guidelines, and Web and risk management tools. Technical Guideline 01-2012, Fire Safety Inspections and Enforcement, recent provincial regulations and Fire Marshal directives related to facilities housing vulnerable occupants, recent amendments to the Ontario Fire Code, and the Integrated Risk Management (IRM) Web Tool represent significant advancements in regard to fire safety and the delivery of fire protection services in Ontario, and consequently the PFSGs need to be updated. In addition, there have been a number of coroner’s jury recommendations, commissions of inquiry and court decisions that may also affect the content and the scope of the PFSGs.

Public Fire Safety Guidelines were first introduced in 1998 to assist municipal councils, administrators and fire chiefs in fulfilling their responsibilities as set out in Part II of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.

Public Fire Safety Guidelines are issued by the Fire Marshal under the authority of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997:

Powers of Fire Marshal

9. (1) The Fire Marshal has the power,

(d) to issue guidelines to municipalities respecting fire protection services and related matters;

The intent of the review is to ensure that all PFSGs are consistent with applicable jurisprudence and that they reflect current industry best practices and the OFMEM’s commitment to an integrated approach for the delivery of fire protection services based on the three lines of defence against fire (Three Lines of Defence):

Line one: Public fire safety education
Line two: Fire safety standards and enforcement
Line three: Emergency response.

The review will begin in January 2015 and will include consultation with stakeholders. All PFSGs will be subjected to the review process and some PFSGs will require more revisions than others. Until the review is completed, when using PFSGs, municipalities and fire departments are encouraged to contact their local OFMEM fire protection advisor for guidance and assistance. The OFMEM recommends also using other resources located on the OFMEM Web site, such as the IRM Web Tool, technical guidelines, and the series Fire Marshal’s Communiqué.

Enquiries regarding the review of the Public Fire Safety Guidelines should be directed to Field and Advisory Services, OFMEM; staff members can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at (416) 325-3100 or 1-800-565-1842.