Commissioner's Directive

Fire Safety


  1. To ensure the safety of staff and offenders by reducing the incidence of fire and the resulting loss of life and/or property while maintaining adequate operational security.


  1. Corrections and Conditional Release Act, paragraph  5  (a) and section 70;

    Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations, section 83;

    Canada Labour CodePart II;

    Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations;

    National Fire Code of Canada;

    NationalBuilding Code of Canada;

    Criminal Code of Canada, sections 430 and 433 to  436.


  1. Treasury Board Manual, Occupational Health and Safety volume, chapters 3-1 to 3-6;

    Treasury Board Risk Management Policy;

    Commissioner's Directive 254 - Occupational Safety and Health and Return to Work Programs;

    Commissioner's Directive 566-12 - Personal Property of Inmates;

    Commissioner's Directive 568-1 - Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents;

    Commissioner's Directive 600 - Management of Emergencies.


  1. In accordance with legislation and accepted best practices, the Correctional Service of Canada shall establish and maintain a fire safety program at all of its operational sites. At a minimum, the program shall contain the following elements:
    1. fire safety planning;
    2. fire safety training;
    3. fire safety awareness;
    4. fire hazard control;
    5. inspections;
    6. investigations and reporting of fires, fire alarms and false alarms;
    7. maintenance of fire equipment and systems;
    8. fire safety orientation for inmates; and
    9. equipment standards.


  1. The Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Services, through the Technical Services Branch, shall establish and monitor the overall policy on fire safety in operational units. To assist in the implementation of this policy, the Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Services will issue a Fire Safety Manual and other instructions as necessary.
  2. The Regional Deputy Commissioners shall support, monitor, and report on fire safety in operational units within their region.
  3. Institutional Heads shall ensure the operation of an appropriate fire safety program within their facility that includes the elements outlined in paragraph 4 of this Commissioner's Directive.
  4. Institutional Heads shall assign specific responsibilities related to fire safety to:
    1. an Institution Fire Chief responsible for fire safety, fire emergency planning, and fire suppression (an Alternate or Deputy Fire Chief positions shall be established to perform the fire safety duties when the Institution Fire Chief is not in attendance in the facility);
    2. Fire Emergency Officers responsible for fire safety and emergency evacuation; and
    3. the Institutional Safety Committee, responsible for monitoring and advising on safety programs.
  5. Fire is an incident with security implications which may occur at any time in a facility. In support of the Crisis Manager, the Institution Fire Chief or designate shall have operational authority to direct those staff and resources necessary to protect lives from fire while still maintaining operational security.


  1. A report shall be prepared as soon as practical after a fire. Where warranted, due to significant loss or for other reasons, an internal inquiry shall be conducted and the findings disseminated along with the fire report.


  1. Fire safety training shall be provided at all units, for staff and inmates, as outlined in Section 4 of the Fire Safety Manual, to ensure the ability to respond effectively to a fire emergency. No Fire Emergency Officer or Alternate shall be assigned responsibility for emergency evacuation procedures or inspections until they have received the necessary orientation training for the area of responsibility.


  1. Fire drills and mock evacuations shall be held at regular intervals. Full or partial scale fire simulations and evacuations shall be held annually in conjunction with local fire departments. The required frequency for evacuation drills is outlined in Section 5 of the Fire Safety Manual.


  1. Fire safety plans shall be developed at all units to provide for effective response in fire emergencies. Such plans shall be approved by the regional office of Human Resources and Social Development Canada - Labour Program.


  1. Pursuant to the Canada Labour Code, Institutional Heads shall enforce all regulations and/or standards required by Human Resources and Social Development Canada ’ Labour Program, and Treasury Board.


  1. Specifications of the routine inspection, testing and periodic servicing of all fire protection and detection equipment and systems shall be described and scheduled as part of the institutional Preventive Maintenance Program. Malfunctions or deficiencies shall be reported and dealt with promptly.


  1. Any person(s) found tampering with, wilfully undermining, or who negligently fails to maintain fire or life safety equipment may be subject to disciplinary and/or criminal proceedings as outlined in sections  430 and 433 to  436 of the Criminal Code of Canada.


  1. Buildings shall be inspected at regular intervals as prescribed by the National Fire Code of Canada, any regulations issued pursuant to the Canada Labour CodePart II, and other applicable fire safety regulations.   Such inspections shall ensure that hazards are corrected without delay and that fire safety equipment and building features are in apparent good order.


  1. Institutional Heads shall establish procedures assigning responsibility to line managers to ensure that fire hazard control is maintained. Correctional Managers are responsible and accountable to control fire hazards within their functional area. This shall include regular inspection and control of inmate personal effects to ensure the authorized limits are not exceeded in quantity or kind.


  1. As candles are incendiary devices, their use must be strictly controlled. Authorized use of candles shall be established by the Institutional Head as outlined in the Fire Safety Manual.


  1. The amount of combustible material permitted in cell blocks, living units and dormitories shall be strictly limited in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Fire Safety Manual.


  1. Regional Headquarters shall prepare an annual report for forwarding to National Headquarters. It shall contain:
    1. a summary of all fires and the main features of the ensuing investigations;
    2. a report detailing all simulations and fire drills held, and the results of these; and
    3. a summary of the results of fire safety inspections where further actions are outstanding.


Original signed by
Don Head


For more information

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