Health & Safety

Information Bulletins · Occupancy and Load Capacity



Occupancy and Load Capacity


When using this method to determine class size maximums, the board may shut down the program, i.e. if the area of the room combined with the applicable code limits the room to 12 persons, the board may opt to close the program.


Do the research, contact Provincial Office prior to taking this route to attempt to limit class size.

There is no onus on the member to be aware of the occupancy load of the room.

The Ontario Building Code limits a room occupancy, using the size of the room and the use or type of room. The Ontario Building Code sets a minimum square area per person.

Calculation: Number of persons allowed
Area of room (length x width)
Minimum area per person

Person includes; student, all educational workers assigned to that room.

To determine the minimum area per person allowed, obtain the latest Ontario Building Code available. In the ‘Index’ look up ‘Occupant Load’.

Example: In the 1997 Ontario Building Code refer to section 3.1.16. Included is a chart (as attached). Locate the room that best fits the situation in question. Apply the minimum area per person to the formula above.

One of the problems faced by those who have used the Ontario Building Code is: The board administration will require, the area per person, from the Code of the day, (even though the numbers have not changed in 40 years) when construction was completed.

Determining the year of construction: The board’s Facilities Department will have this information.

After the year of construction has been determined; contact the local “Building Department of the Municipality”. They will have a copy of the code that you require, however they will not allow you to leave the premises with the code, but you may photocopy the required articles.

Ontario Building Code 1997

Occupant Load
Forming Part of Article

Type of Use of Building or Floor Area or Part Thereof

Area per Person,
m2 (ft2)

Assembly uses

space with fixed seats

space with nonfixed seats

stages for theatrical performances

space with nonfixed seats and tables

standing space

stadia and grandstands

bowling alleys, pool and billiard rooms


*school shops and vocational rooms

reading or writing rooms or lounges

dining, alcoholic beverage and cafeteria space

*laboratories in schools

exhibition halls other than those classified in Group E

See clause (1)(a)

0.75 (8.07)

0.75 (8.07)

0.95 (10.2)

0.40 (4.3)

0.60 (6.5)

9.30 (100)

1.85 (19.9)

9.30 (100)

1.85 (19.9)

1.10 (11.8)

4.60 (49.5)

2.80 (30.1)

Care or detention uses

B-1 : detention quarters

B-2 : treatment and sleeping room areas

B-3 : sleeping room areas

(See also Article

11.60 (125)

10.00 (108)

10.00 (108)

Residential uses

dwelling units


See Clause (1)(b)

>4.60 (49.5)

Business and personal services uses

personal service shops


4.60 (49.5)

9.30 (100)

Mercantile uses

basements and first storeys

second storeys having a principal entrance from a pedestrian thoroughfare or a parking area

dining, alcoholic beverage and cafeteria space

other storeys

3.70 (39.8)

3.70 (39.8)

1.10 (11.8)

5.60 (60.3)

Industrial uses

manufacturing or process rooms

storage garages

storage spaces (warehouse)

aircraft hangars

4.60 (49.5)

46.00 (495)

28.00 (301)

46.00 (495)

Other uses

cleaning and repair of goods



public corridors intended for occupancies in addition to pedestrian travel

4.60 (49.5)

9.30 (100)

46.00 (495)

3.70 (39.8)