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Ottawa unveils new approach for National Model Code development

November 28, 2022  By  Anthony Capkun

November 22, 2022 – Ottawa has unveiled a new governance model for the National Model Codes development system.

“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,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The new National Model Codes development system will ensure there is more consistency in innovative building techniques, added Champagne, “such as helping to meet energy efficiency standards”.

Canada’s National Model Codes include:


• National Building Code of Canada
• National Fire Code of Canada
• National Plumbing Code of Canada
• National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings

The new federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) governance model replaces the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, which has been 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, says National Research Council of Canada (NRC), bringing Canada “significantly closer to harmonized construction codes across the country”.

NRC is supporting the new FPT 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.

It it believed this new approach to code development 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,” says NRC.

“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,” NRC adds.

Current provincial and territorial building, fire, plumbing and energy regulations continue to remain in effect. Always consult the relevant authority having jurisdiction.

The current code development standing committees will remain in place until the next code development cycle begins in 2025. Afterward, the technical committee areas of responsibility may be reassessed under the new codes governance model. A call for members of the new technical committees will be announced as part of planning for the next codes cycle.

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