By Fire Fighting in Canada
May, 25, 2018 - New Ontario regulations on mandatory training and certification were announced in May that will be coming into effect over the next two years. The new legislation mandates the certification of firefighters, community risk assessments to inform the delivery of fire protection services and public reporting on fire departments response times.
The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) has re-opened a previous grandfathering program to support the new mandatory training requirements that were made law by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS).
The re-opening of the grandfathering program was approved by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard, the two organizations responsible for accrediting other bodies to administer firefighting certifications related to NFPA standards and will include departments that had not previously taken advantage of the initial opportunity in 2013 and 2014, until September 30, 2018.
The program will use the same requirements as the previous program and all documentation related to the applications should be provided to the OFMEM in one submission per fire department by the deadline.
Outlined in the draft regulation, "grandfathering", means firefighters would be allowed to achieve alternative compliance with specific NFPA standards based on existing knowledge and experience.
If someone has been grandfathered prior to the regulation coming into force, and moves to another department, their grandfathering is still valid. Grandfathering is assigned to the individual, so it would remain with them even if they move to a new department.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) described in a statement on their website how to apply for the grandfathering program as well as more information outlining the eligibility requirements and timelines for the program.
"Grandfathering is a tedious, but very important process, so the OAFC is urging all fire chiefs to begin the paperwork for their departments as soon as possible," said the OAFC's statement. "Each application must be signed by the fire chief, confirming that the information provided is valid, and that supporting documentation for either knowledge or experience is available for audit."