Question Period: National Building Code

By: The Hon. Terry Mercer

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Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I have a follow-up to Senator Galvez’s question on the National Building Code.

I don’t know what this government and the previous government are waiting for. There are numerous reports from committees in the Senate. For example, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, in their report on the forestry sector, called for a rewrite of the National Building Code.

What plan are they looking for? People have been giving them ideas for years. This is not rocket science. It is a total delay by the bureaucracy, by this government and the previous government, to act on providing Canadians with an up-to-date building code. This is 2020, not 1920. It’s about time that we had a building code that reflects the reality of today’s industry.

Senator, I know you don’t have a direct say in this, but as you talk to your colleagues in government, please emphasize with them that time is up. Give us the plan, and we’d be happy to discuss it. There are a lot of people in this chamber who have expertise in the area of building, and they would be happy to participate in the debate. Please tell your colleagues in the government that time is up.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for that, senator. I will certainly communicate that message to my colleagues in the government.

However, I do want to underline that the National Building Code has to be the product not simply of the expertise that may exist in this chamber and elsewhere, but of the input and involvement of those jurisdictions, provinces and territories that have the actual constitutional, legal and democratic responsibility for creating, implementing and applying those standards. Indeed, it extends beyond the provinces, into municipalities and the like. It is a complex process that is inevitably implicated when we deal with national standards in areas of provincial jurisdiction. We could spend the rest of Question Period — but I won’t — listing all those areas, from national standard rules in the legal system to health.

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