Officials push minister for power to enforce building code on reserves

OTTAWA - Government officials are pushing for new laws that would let Ottawa enforce construction standards on residential homes and infrastructure built in First Nations communities.

A note was prepared for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt last summer that proposed legislation to let the federal government enforce the national building code — or comparable construction standards — on reserves.

Now, neither the national nor provincial building codes can be enforced by the federal government in First Nations communities.

Since 1983, any new construction built with federal money on reserves has had to meet the national building code.

However, it is up to each band chief and council to ensure everything is up to code — something that is not always done, according to a 2003 auditor general's report.

The Canadian Press obtained the document under the Access to Information Act.