Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)
Righi Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):
The division of building research of the national research council has a fire research section, the object of which is to investigate all aspects of fires with special reference to loss of life and the improvement of buildings with respect to fire hazards. The head of the section receives all second degree fire calls in the city of Ottawa, and therefore the national research council through its fire research section has studied all serious fires in the capital city in close co-operation with the Ottawa fire department during the last three or four years.
As the question suggests, the responsibility for fire prevention is a provincial matter under the British North America Act. The officer directly responsible is the fire marshal in the various provinces. The division to which I have referred works closely with the fire marshal and reports to him the results
Inquiries of the Ministry of their studies. In general, the division is working to eliminate fire hazards from Canadian homes and Canadian buildings. The difficulty at the moment is that these fires occur in the older houses and about all that the building research department can do is to call attention to the hazards in the home, the necessity for cleanliness, the necessity for having wiring checked, particularly if the wiring is old, and to ask that all precautions be taken.
I believe that as a result of the study we are moving toward a better class of fire-resistant building in newer construction both of homes and of other types of buildings.