Provincial Responsibility for Fire Services Act & Regulations

Year
2019
Category
Emergency Services
NCLGA Ref#
R3
UBCM Ref#
A1

Status

NCLGA Executive Recommendation: Endorse | Endorsed by the NCLGA and UBCM Memberships

Details

Whereas UBCM endorsed resolution 2015-A3 calling for the provincial government to provide the resources necessary to inspect and enforce provincial safety regulations, including the Fire Services Act and its regulations, through either the Office of the Fire Commissioner or the BC Safety Authority rather than downloading the responsibility for local governments to enforce Provincial rules;

And whereas no decision has been made by the Province despite significant opposition, particularly by regional districts, regarding the proposed changes to the Fire Safety Act that would require enforcement by local governments:

Therefore be it resolved that the NCLGA and UBCM lobby the provincial government to expedite the enactment of legislation requiring provincial safety regulations to be enforced by the Office of the Fire Commissioner or the BC Safety Authority rather than pursuing options to download the responsibility for inspections and enforcement of provincial regulations on local governments.

Responses

The Resolutions Committee notes that as the sponsor noted, the UBCM membership has endorsed resolution 2015-A3, requesting additional provincial resources to inspect and enforce the Fire Services Act through the Office of the Fire Commissioner or the BC Safety Authority. A subsequent resolution, 2018-SR3, was endorsed in support of the established policy position outlined in 2015-A3.

2018-SR3 was brought forward by the UBCM Executive in response to the Province's decision to reverse an earlier policy change that would have made fire inspection optional for regional districts (as opposed to a mandatory requirement). In response to this decision, UBCM established a Fire Safety Act Working Group that continues to meet with the Office of the Fire Commissioner and express opposition to the downloading of inspection responsibilities onto regional districts.

In response to 2018-B3, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General indicated that the Province would work with UBCM through the Fire Safety Act Working Group to understand "how to mitigate the added administrative and operational costs" associated with the establishment of this program.

North Central Local Government Association