Protecting Seniors and Vulnerable Ontarians

Protecting Seniors and Vulnerable Ontarians

Government Mandating Sprinklers in Care Homes for Seniors, People with Disabilities


May 9, 2013

Ontario is the first province to make automatic sprinklers mandatory in care homes for seniors, homes for people with disabilities, and vulnerable Ontarians. .

Mandatory sprinklers are part of amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code that will improve fire safety in these occupancies. Other improvements include:
• Self-closing doors
• Enhanced fire inspections and staff training
• Annual validation of fire safety plans by local fire services

The amendments are based on recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee led by the Office of the Fire Marshal and public consultation.

Helping seniors stay safe is a part of Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors and supports the new Ontario government’s efforts to ensure a just and fair society for all.


“We are committed to moving forward with the implementation of fire safety measures, including sprinklers, to protect seniors and vulnerable Ontarians living in care homes and treatment facilities. These amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code will bring greater protection and security for these residents and peace of mind to their loved ones.”

— Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

“This is an issue I have cared deeply about for years, and I am delighted our government is moving forward with the phase-in of mandatory sprinklers for all our retirement and Long Term Care homes. I would like to thank the Technical Advisory Committee, as well as the numerous members of the fire service who have been advocating for these changes, and for their ongoing dedication to making our province safer.”

— Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“Seniors in our retirement homes need to feel safe and secure. They need to know that there are safeguards in place that protect them. By mandating fire sprinklers and enhancing fire safety measures, the provincial government is demonstrating its commitment to the well-being and security of Ontario’s seniors living in retirement homes.”

— Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors

“Everyone has the right to feel safe from fire wherever they live, regardless of age, ability or special needs. Today’s announcement mandates sprinklers under the Ontario Fire Code for the first time. Mandating sprinklers and other fire safety enhancements in our vulnerable occupancies is a significant milestone toward achieving this goal.”

— Tadeusz (Ted) Wieclawek, Fire Marshal of Ontario

“The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) applauds the government for implementing these important changes. These new requirements represent the single biggest improvement in public fire safety since the requirement for mandatory smoke alarms. The OAFC was pleased to work with Ontario, the Office of the Fire Marshal and our other industry partners on the development of the Technical Advisory Committee recommendations, which has been a top priority for the OAFC. These changes will improve both the safety of residents and the safety of the firefighters who respond to fires in these buildings.”

— Deputy Fire Chief Matt Pegg, president, Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

“Today’s announcement is about celebrating the positive results of a collaborative process that put seniors first and recognized the need for a flexible and phased-in retrofit process for non-funded retirement homes in Ontario. As the provincial association representing more than 80 per cent of Ontario’s retirement community sector, we believe that expanding important fire safety measures for all retirement homes is simply the right thing to do.”

— Laurie Johnston, CEO, Ontario Retirement Communities Association

• All licensed retirement homes and most private care facilities will have up to five years to install sprinklers. Some care and treatment facilities, including public long-term care homes, will have an 11 year phase-in period to coincide with redevelopment plans scheduled to be completed by 2025.
• Since 1998, most newly built retirement homes in Ontario have been required to have sprinklers.
• The Retirement Home Act, 2010, requires that information about whether or not a retirement home has a fire sprinkler system be publicly available.
• More than 50,000 seniors live in about 700 retirement homes in Ontario.
• By 2017, Ontario will be home to more people over the age of 65 than children under age 15.


Read the amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code
Read more about fire prevention and the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal
Find out about the Retirement Homes Act, 2010

Craig MacBride, Minister’s Office, 416-325-8282
Andrew Morrison, Communications Branch, 416-325-0432
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