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The Commission endeavours to provide a timely, cost-effective and non-adversarial process for evaluating and authorizing new and innovative materials, systems and building designs for use in Ontario. In doing so, the Commission has earned a reputation as an effective, useful and quality service provider within the construction industry. The Commission does, however, face certain challenges. To address these challenges and to improve its ongoing operations and client service delivery, the Commission plans to continue with the following initiatives in the coming years.

Review of Existing Authorizations

The Commission launched two initiatives in an effort to manage and keep current all existing authorizations.

The first exercise involved an attempt to contact each holder of a Building Materials Evaluation Commission authorization, dating back to 1976, to determine whether the authorization holder’s contact information on file with the Commission is up-to-date. Also, as part of this exercise, authorization holders were asked whether they still manufactured the innovative product, system or building design detailed in the authorization, and whether the Commission’s information relative to this product was current.

The second initiative related to the review of existing authorizations for redundancy. The first phase of this initiative was to review for redundancy with other approvals (i.e. Minister’s Ruling). The Commission completed this phase on January 30, 2014.

With the release of the 2012 Building Code, having an effective date of January 2014, the Commission began the second phase of its review for duplications. The Commission is continuing with this work.

With the release of each new Building Code, the Commission will need to review its existing authorizations in an effort to eliminate authorizations that may no longer be required.

The Commission believes that this is a necessary exercise to ensure the credibility and accuracy of the inventory of authorizations as reflected on the web-page. The Commission believes that the public needs to feel confident that the information in authorizations is current and accurate.

Recommendations to the Minister

The Commission continually reviews its existing authorizations to determine whether there is a need to make recommendations to the Minister regarding changes to the Building Code and/or whether there is additional need for revocation of authorizations based on the current edition of the Building Code.

The Commission has not made any recommendations to the Minister in the current (2016-2017) fiscal year.

Time to Decisions/Authorizations

Following receipt of an Application, the Commission aims to make a decision or issue an Authorization within 120 days of the initial consideration by the Commission. This time frame is an accurate reflection of the average time frame the Commission requires to evaluate applications.

Some decisions on applications may be made quickly because there are already existing Authorizations for similar technologies, which are used to guide consideration of subsequent applications. New and innovative technologies may require longer approval times because references need to be checked, additional testing is sometimes required, missing information may need to be supplied, etc.

The Commission strives to be transparent in their process with respect to the evaluation of an application and to improve documentation of the evaluation process.

The Commission continues to monitor and review its processes for making decisions to determine if there are efficiencies that can be achieved.

Succession Planning

As part of succession planning, the Commission believes it is necessary to have a longer period of overlap between sitting members and newly appointed members than has been afforded in the past. Ideally an overlap of nine months would allow for knowledge transfer from existing members to newly appointed members and permit new members to be mentored.

Throughout 2016, the terms of appointment for seven members expired and the members were no longer eligible to seek reappointment.

The Commission Chair put forth recommendations on the appointment of seven new members, resulting in seven new members being appointed to the Commission in November 2016.

While these new appointments enable the Commission to continue to operate, it is still appropriate to try and stagger the terms of appointment for Commission so that Orders in Council expire in smaller groups. This will allow for newly appointed members to be mentored by experienced members.

In addition to ensuring an adequate number of members, the Commission must also work at maintaining the knowledge base of its membership so it is important for the Commission to continue to solicit new members with expertise that reflects the full spectrum of technical disciplines (e.g. plumbing, mechanical systems, on-site sewage systems, etc.). As described in the Memorandum of Understanding, the role of the Chair includes keeping the Minister informed of upcoming appointment vacancies and providing recommendations for appointments and/or reappointments to the Commission.

Ontario’s Gender Diversity Targets

In June 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced new gender diversity targets to ensure more women have the opportunity to reach top leadership positions at provincial agencies and other government organizations. The Ontario government has set a target that, by 2019, women should make up at least 40% of all appointments to every provincial agency, board and commission.

With the appointment of the seven new appointments, noted above, the Commission currently consists of 12 members.

Two of the 12 members are female, resulting in 16% of the Commission being female, which is significantly less than the government’s 2019 target for 40% female representation.

Past experience indicates that, in order to provide the Commission with a sufficiently diverse range of experience, a membership of 15 is optimal.

Assuming Commission membership is set at 15, a female membership threshold of six must be achieved by 2019 in order to meet the government’s 40% objective. Opportunities exist to achieve the 40% target for female representation on the Commission because the Commission will be seeking further appointments in the next two years. It may also be necessary to consider not reappointing some of the currently appointed members in order to create opportunities for additional female representation.

To assist in achieving the government’s objective, staff plan to network with leading professionals to identify potentially qualified members and encourage qualified candidates, especially females, to apply for any future appointment opportunities utilizing the internal communications channels of organizations, for example:

  • Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
  • Professional Engineers of Ontario
  • Ontario Network of Women in Engineering
  • Canadian Association of Women in Construction
  • Ontario Building Officials Association
  • Ontario Association of Architects

Annual Survey of Clients

The Commission intends to continue its independent survey which assists the Commission in determining satisfaction with levels of service delivery.

Green Initiatives

The Commission will work with the Ministry to examine viable means to reduce the environmental impact of services provided.