Government of Canada announces new collaborative approach for National Model Codes
November 22, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council of Canada
Construction codes are essential in supporting safe, energy efficient homes and buildings for Canadians. As the construction industry employs nearly 1.4 million Canadians, a harmonized set of codes reduces regulatory burden and removes internal trade barriers.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced a new governance model for the National Model Codes development system.
The new federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) governance model replaces the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, the committee that was responsible for code development in Canada since 1991.
The new FPT governance model includes the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes, overseen by a new Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy. It was developed to integrate provinces and territories into the national process, bringing Canada significantly closer to harmonized construction codes across the country.
With this new approach, the code development system will be more responsive to provincial and territorial code priorities and will result in more efficient construction in Canada. The new model will contribute to lower construction costs for industry and reduce internal trade barriers related to manufacturing, operation, inspection, education and training. Adoption of more harmonized codes will accelerate the construction of energy-efficient buildings, creating more affordable and efficient homes for Canadians, while also helping to meet Canada's net-zero goals.
By further enabling the timely adoption of harmonized construction codes, it is estimated the new FPT governance model will bring Canada an economic benefit between $750 million to $1 billion per year by 2028.
"To build a stronger economy and to reduce internal trade barriers, our government is adopting a more collaborative approach with provinces and territories to harmonize construction codes across the country. The new National Model Codes development system will ensure there is more consistency in innovative building techniques such as helping to meet energy efficiency standards. This will help to see more growth, more jobs, and better homes for Canadians."
— The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
"Today marks an important step in our efforts to harmonize construction codes across Canada, in support of our construction industry. We look forward to continuing to work with provinces and territories in the transformed National Model Codes development system, to make advancements in key code priority areas such as climate change."
— Iain Stewart, President, National Research Council of Canada and federal co-chair, Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy
"I am pleased to be able to co-chair the Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Code Policy and be part of this initiative to harmonize construction codes throughout Canada. This will provide the framework for provinces, territories and Canada to work collectively to meet the needs of all Canadians in a timely manner. I would also like to acknowledge members of the Provincial/Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC) and the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) for all the efforts in previous code cycles as we transition to this new model."
— Laurier Donais, Deputy Minister of Government Relations, Government of Saskatchewan and provincial co-chair, Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy
The 2018 Fall Economic Statement made the National Model Codes free to access online, and led the Government of Canada to sign the Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement to harmonize the National Model Codes with Canada's provinces and territories in 2020.
In Canada, provincial and territorial governments have the constitutional authority to enact legislation that regulates building design and construction within their jurisdictions to meet their specific needs. For the National Model Codes to become law, they must be adopted by a province, territory, or other authority having jurisdiction (e.g. a designated municipality).
Current provincial and territorial building, fire, plumbing and energy regulations will continue to remain in effect. Design and construction officials should consult the relevant provincial or territorial government to find out what regulation applies in their location.
Canada's National Model Codes include the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada, the National Plumbing Code of Canada and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. The most recent versions are the 2020 editions of these codes.
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) publishes the National Model Codes for free, in electronic format, through the NRC's Publications Archive and for purchase, in printed format, from the NRC's Virtual Store.
On behalf of the federal government, the National Research Council of Canada was the signatory of the Construction Codes Reconciliation Agreement, alongside provinces and territories.
The National Research Council of Canada is supporting the new federal-provincial-territorial governance model by co-chairing both the Canadian Table for Harmonized Construction Codes Policy and the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes, as well as through the NRC's Codes Canada team, which will provide technical, policy and administrative support to the transformed system.
Over the last 30 years, the volunteers of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes were fundamental to leading Canada's code development system and contributing to public health and safety.
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Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes
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