What the recent I-Code hearings in the USA have made clear is that the American and Canadian Codes are not only different, but have different goals and functions in their respective countries. The Code process in the USA is very democratic, allowing all to submit proposals which are discussed and voted on, and ultimately the elected proposal becomes the Code. The hearings saw an attempt by builders to roll-back energy efficiency from current Code levels. They saw trade-offs reintroduced into the Code, which would allow builders to use less insulation if they happened to use an above-code HVAC or hot water system. These changes will be finalised at a second round of “hearings” in the Fall of 2016.

Meanwhile in Canada, the provinces and territories have jurisdiction, and they begin by expressing their overall objectives.The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) then establishes consequential policies and Terms of Reference governing the work of the various Code Standing Committees.Canadian regions are united in their goals to improve energy efficiency—thereby reducing greenhouse gases—so the national Codes work to that objective: no energy efficiency code roll-backs. In fact, Ontario, a major province, has openly declared that the Codes are a key instrument for driving new construction to NetZero energy use. The challenge for Canada, then, is to extend the scope of Codes to include major renovations.