Report to/Rapport au :


Planning and Environment Committee

Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement


05 March 2010 / le 05 mars 2010


Submitted by/Soumis par : Nancy Schepers, Deputy City Manager/

Directrice municipale adjointe,

Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability/Services d 'infrastructure et Viabilité des collectivités


Contact Person/Personne ressource : Arlene Gregoire, Director/Directrice, Building Code Services and Chief Building Official/Direction des services code du bâtiment et chef du service du bâtiment, Planning and Growth Management/Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance

(613) 580-2424 x 41425,


City Wide/à l'échelle de la Ville

Ref N°: ACS2010-ICS-PGM-0064




building inspector internship program









That the Planning and Environment Committee receive this report for information.




Que le Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement prenne connaissance du présent rapport.





The Building Code Services Branch is the municipal authority in building code knowledge, regulation and enforcement. The Ontario Building Code establishes uniform minimum standards for health, life safety and structural sufficiency that must be included in the construction of a building. The Branch assists property owners, builders, architects, and engineers by providing direction in the application and interpretation of the Building Code Act, the Building Code, and applicable laws (e.g. zoning by-laws, Heritage Act, Nutrient Management Act, etc.) to ensure construction meets these performance and safety standards.


In 2005 the building regulatory system of the Province of Ontario was restructured with the introduction of the Building Code Statute Law Amendment Act (previously referred to as Bill 124) and associated amendments to the Ontario Building Code.  The amendments to the Act created some operational challenges.

For example, municipal Code officials needed to pass new provincial qualifying exams to be able to review construction plans, approve permit applications and inspect construction and mandatory timeframes were introduced for completing the review of building permit applications and for undertaking mandatory Code inspections.


Prior to these changes the Branch was able to rely on consultants (former building inspectors) to assist in undertaking inspections during the peak construction period, however, due to the new legislative requirements regarding minimum qualifications that took effect January 1, 2006, the consultants withdrew their services having opted to not re-establish their qualifications with the Province.  The loss of competent and skilled resources was compounded by the Branch’s inability to recruit new inspectors. 


Recruitment of qualified and Code competent Building Officials has been very difficult, as the pool in Ottawa and area is limited and competition is fierce.  In order to meet the challenges presented by the departure of experienced inspectors, the Building Code Services Branch concluded that the best way to fill vacancies was to recruit college or university graduates (building construction technologist, engineering technologists, architectural technologists, engineers and architects) with the minimum experience and place them in an internship program. The program would be designed to provide the Building Code and regulatory training that would satisfy both the Provincial requirements vis-à-vis minimum qualifications as well as the City's qualifications for entry level Building Official positions. 


An internship program was piloted from 2006 to 2008 followed by a formalized program submission to the Province.  A delegation of authority By-Law (2009-231) authorizes the Director of Building Code Services/Chief Building Official to enter into agreements with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH).  In July 2009 the Director of Building Code Services/Chief Building Official entered into an agreement with the MMAH for the creation of such a building inspector internship program (refer to Memorandum of Understanding - Document 1).




The internship program is administered by the Building Code Services Branch. The Chief Building Official sets the direction of the program including goals, objectives, and guidelines.  The program recruitment process is co-ordinated by the City’s Human Resources Department and is undertaken in accordance with established policies and procedures. Competitions are open to all internal and external candidates who meet the minimum requirements. Candidates must have obtained the required diplomas or degrees and construction experience in building design and/or construction and inspection of buildings. 


The program is comprised of training and development that includes ongoing evaluation, in addition to the requirement to pass the Province's minimum qualification exams.  The program covers 18 to 24 months depending on the intern's pre-qualifications and experience and the intern must complete set curriculum within set timeframes.


The program is designed for enrolment of up to 12 interns who are mentored and supervised by the Program Managers who oversee the review of permit applications, issuance of permits, building inspections and enforcement. 

Interns are distributed evenly according to workloads and accommodation capacity ensuring Program Managers are able to provide optimum supervision and mentorship. 


The Program Managers oversee the interns’ activities to ensure that the interns only undertake work that is in compliance with the Act and Corporate policies and procedures.  Interns commence training in Permit Approvals reviewing building permit applications and construction plans and then migrate to Building Inspections to begin to undertake inspections of components of buildings for which they are qualified. Starting the program in Permit Approvals provides the interns with a good base of Code knowledge, while undertaking inspections of construction provides the intern excellent practical experience. 


Once the intern successfully completes the program, the intern is eligible to apply for posted City vacancies.  To date the program has successfully graduated 11 interns, all presently employed as Building Officials and currently there are six students in the program, due to graduate summer and fall 2010. 


This is a proactive program that supports the Branch human resources plan in dealing with the difficulties in recruiting Code competent candidates.  This program puts the City in a position to improve client satisfaction and achieve service excellence goals through improving operational performance with qualified and Code knowledgeable future building code officials.  Employee engagement is evident through providing the interns training and education opportunities, mentorship in interacting with clients and industry and the opportunity to become active members of the Ontario Building Officials Association.  


Internship Program Governance


The Memorandum of Understanding with MMAH stipulates that the City will report to MMAH every six months outlining the:


           Number of interns entering, within, and leaving the program;

           Number of offshore-trained professionals progressing through the program; and

           Summary of appeals for refused enrolment or terminated enrolment.


The first report was submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on December 31, 2009.








Prior to establishing the program, Building Code Services Branch met with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) representing the City’s employees to discuss and obtain agreement of the terms of employment for the interns as the City did not have any such positions or arrangements in place. 


Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA), a not-for-profit volunteer organization committed to maintaining a high degree of professionalism in the field of building inspection, code administration and building safety, reviewed the program.  The OBOA provided a letter of support to the City’s application to establish the internship program with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.




No Councillor consultation was required for the preparation of this report.




There are no legal/risk management implications to receiving this report.  An excerpt from By‑law 2009-231 pertaining to the Building Code Services Branch states:



51. (1) The Chief Building Official is delegated the authority to enter into agreements with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing provided that such agreements,

(a) relate to the Chief Building Official’s mandate under the Building Code Act, 1992;

(b) are at no cost to the City with the exception of associated operational and administrative costs which costs are within approved budgets; and

(c) contain appropriate termination, insurance and indemnity provisions as applicable.

(2) The exercise of delegated authority pursuant to subsection (1) shall be reported to Planning and Environment Committee or Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, as applicable, as soon as possible after execution. 




E7  Set a high level and a proactive municipal response to meet the social services, social housing, supported living and public health needs of Ottawa residents.








There are no financial implications.




Document 1    Memorandum of Understanding




The Building Code Services Branch will continue to administer the program to ensure it is progressing as planned, that expectations of both the City and interns are being met and in accordance with the agreement with MMAH.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING                                                      DOCUMENT 1





Between the



(Hereinafter referred to as "City")





(Hereinafter referred to as "MAH")


WHEREAS MAH is responsible for administering the Building Code Act, 1992 and the Building Code (Ontario Regulation 350\06, as amended);


AND WHEREAS Article of Division C of the Building Code authorizes the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to approve a building inspector internship program;


AND WHEREAS the City has developed an internship program that provides for training and development of new building official recruits to qualify these new employees as inspectors under the Building Code Act, in accordance with the Act and the Code;


AND WHEREAS the City wishes to establish a building inspector internship program;




1.      Approval


1.1              The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approves of the establishment of an internship program as proposed by the City subject to the terms of this Memorandum.


2.      Establishment and Administration


2.1              The City will establish and administer an internship program as described in Schedule A and consistent with the MAH guideline "Application and Approval Criteria for Organizations Seeking to Establish an Inspector Internship Program" dated November 2005 included as Schedule B.


2.2              The City will be responsible for all costs associated with the development and maintenance of the internship program.


2.3              Despite subparagraph 2.1, this Memorandum does not establish this City as an exclusive provider of an internship program.


3.      Communication


3.1              The City shall submit reports to MAH every six months, beginning no later than six months following execution of this Memorandum outlining:

·         The number of interns entering, within, and leaving the internship program;

·         The number of offshore-trained professionals progressing through the program; and

·         Summary of appeals for refused enrolment or terminated enrolment.


3.2              Notwithstanding subparagraph 3.1, the City shall, from time to time, at the City's expense, give to MAH such documents or information relating to the registration of interns or to associated activities as MAH may reasonably require.


4.      Meetings


4.1              In the interest of continuing open communication and the effective implementation of this Memorandum, meetings will be held between the parties.


4.2              Meetings will be held as jointly determined by the parties.


4.3              The City will, at MAH request, endeavour to participate in internship assessment panels established by MAH.


5.      Term


5.1              This Memorandum takes effect on the date this Memorandum is executed by the parties and shall remain in effect from the date of execution.


5.2              Despite subparagraph 5.1, MAH may terminate this Memorandum at any time without cause.


5.3              Despite subparagraph 5.1, the City may terminate this memorandum at any time without cause upon one hundred eighty (180) days written notice.


6.      Review


6.1              This Memorandum will be reviewed by the parties one year after adoption, or at any other time mutually agreed upon by the parties.  Amendments to the Memorandum may be made with the agreement of both parties.


7.      Entirety


7.1              All terms and conditions of Schedule A and B are incorporated into this Memorandum except where they are inconsistent with this Memorandum in which case the terms of the Memorandum shall take priority.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF to make the best efforts to adhere to the terms established in this Memorandum, the parties have executed this Memorandum.




in right of Ontario as represented by the







The Honourable Jim Watson

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing




Dated the______ day of__________________, 2009.










Arlene Grégoire

Director, Chief Building Official

Building Code Services

I have the authority to bind the City