Jan 092014

Egress Windows in Ontario – Part 2

Continuing the discussion from our previous article, Egress Windows in Ontario, we will go into some more details here.

Being that Egress Windows are a feature of a home that is there for safety, there are various rules and laws in place to govern and restrict them.  Specifically in Ontario, there is the Building Code Act of 1992 which was updated in 2006 and again in 2012.  Starting in the 2006 revision, a set of minimum sizes and clearances where enlarge which are there to ensure safety.


In order to make a change to an existing home, you may need to discuss with your City Hall if a permit or inspection is required.  For example, if you bought your home with an unfinished basement and 3 bedrooms upstairs and you are now looking to sell your home, one of the ways to increase the value is to renovate the basement so you can call a section of it a 4th bedroom.  This allows you to sell your home now as a 4 bedroom home however, this means it has to meet the city and province’s Building Code to qualify as a bedroom and one of the requirements is a second Fire Escape Exit, which most people get an Egress Window for.

In order to put an Egress Window in your basement, there are two main ways.  You can either find an existing window there and enlarge it to meet the requirements or install a new window where there was not one before.  In either case you are talking about cutting into the cement frame your house is built on so there are regulations involved.

Since you will be making structural changes, a trip to your City Hall is required in order to check if any permits or inspections are required and this allows them to ensure you are meeting their requirements and those of the province of Ontario.  So if you think ahead to after you sell your home, the new owner can buy it knowing that anyone who sleeps in the basement should be able to escape in case of any emergency through a window which is big enough for the average person, easy enough to reach, and might have a Window Well that will allow them to escape from the home the rest of the way.

Permits and Inspections

At Open Door Windows and Doors Inc., we are pleased to work with you to get the proper permits from your City Hall and to help you deal with the City Inspectors in order to make the experience less stressful for you.  We are even willing to schedule a time to go with you to the City Hall to discuss the details.

Allowed Egress Windows

In order to be an Egress Window, the window must be opened with one simple operation (slide, lift or swing open/up.)  It cannot require pinching, squeezing, tilting or turning.  It also must not require any key, tools, hardware, or special knowledge *

* Note: It is important to note that the term “special knowledge” is interpreted as one simple motion to unlock the window and one simple motion to open the window, without the use of special tools, keys or knowledge.

Common Window Types for Egress Windows include a horizontal slider (Single Slider Lift Out or Double Slider Lift Out), a Casement Window **, or Inside Hopper Window.

** In case of having a Window Well outside of an Egress Window where a Casement Window is used, then the size of the Window Well has to increase.

External Links

Some source material has been provided by the following link(s):

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