No way to enforce fire codes on First Nations, and new law would be costly: document – CP24

October 5, 2022

There is no way to enforce building or fire codes on First Nations and pursuing a legislative fix would require significant time and money, federal officials warn in an internal briefing document.

But Blaine Wiggins, the senior director of the Indigenous Fire Marshals Service, said that enforcement gap has “catastrophic” consequences.

House fires have long posed a major safety risk to those living on reserve, with several children dying in blazes that broke out in communities earlier this year in southern Alberta and northern Ontario.

Indigenous leaders and experts tie the high number of deadly house fires  on reserves to a lack of proper housing and overcrowding, as well as insufficient funding and education around fire protection.

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