The City of Toronto says fire safety companies tasked with conducting inspections at three properties in the city have been fined and put on probation for violations of the Ontario Fire Code.
In July 2018, the Auditor General of the City of Toronto found evidence that a contractor hired to perform safety inspection services may have been involved in various fraudulent activities relating to fire code work at several city-owned buildings.
A news release issued by the City of Toronto, obtained by CityNews late Monday night, says:
“Following numerous fire safety inspections in 2018 at 1100 Birchmount Road and 77 and 99 Harbour Square, Toronto Fire Services discovered that fire protection companies and their employees were not inspecting, testing and repairing building fire safety systems as required by the Ontario Fire Code,”
The release states that Advanced Detection Technologies Corporation and Rauf Ahmad, operating under the name York Fire Protection, pleaded guilty to multiple violations of the Ontario Fire Code on Dec. 7, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019 respectively.
Advanced Detection Technologies Corporation was fined $10,000 for violations at 1100 Birchmount Road including failure to inspect fire alarms. Rauf Ahmad was fined $7,500 and placed on probation for two years for failure to perform duties including inspections and repairs of the fire alarms as well as providing misleading information in connection with the same property.
Ahmad, operating under the name York Fire Protection was fined an additional $60,000 for failure to perform various safety tests and repairs at 77 and 99 Harbour Square. He was also placed on probation and is prohibited from operating any businesses that offer installation of fire protection, maintenance or consultation services in Ontario for two years.
The probation order also states Ahmad cannot directly or indirectly offer such services for a year and thereafter “may do so only under the direct supervision of a certified sprinkler and fire protection installer or registered fire alarm technician in good standing with the Ontario College of Trades and/or the Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA).”
Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop said in the release that the investigation was the most “labour intensive and technically involved” fire safety inspection work in the city’s history.
“The violations that have been admitted to in Provincial Offences Court represent a serious breach of public fire safety and trust,” said Jessop. “Fire and life safety systems are required in buildings to protect both the occupants and responding fire fighters. Companies and people that intentionally do not test and maintain these systems place both occupants and responding fire fighters at risk.”
Jessop added that Toronto Fire Services is actively monitoring all fire protection services hired by building owners across the city to ensure the safety of the public and firefighters.