OTTAWA-Federal Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says she remains “open” to legislating fire and building codes on First Nations, even though Ottawa has no plans to do so now.
Fires have long posed a threat to people living on-reserve, with inadequate housing and a lack of smoke detectors increasing the risk.
Experts say there is no way to enforce building or fire code standards on First Nations.
A community can pass a bylaw, but groups like the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada and Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs have long pushed for a legislative solution.
Hajdu’s office has previously said that after consulting with Indigenous leadership, they decided that bringing in new laws to resolve the issue “would not be the best approach at this time.”
Hajdu today says she remains open to the idea of legislating fire codes, but there must be “sustained funding” and capacity in communities to implement them.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2022.