A statistical analysis is performed to evaluate the base shear provisions in the 1985 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC 1985). Three sets of real earthquake records are selected to represent seismic ground motions with low, normal, and high peak acceleration to velocity (a/v) ratios. Single degree of freedom stiffness degrading systems are used as structural models; three damage indicators are employed to measure structural damage. The yield strength of the systems is specified in two different ways: (a) a single seismic response factor is used, irrespective of the a/v ratios of the input ground motions; (b) three different seismic response factors are used in the short-period range, depending upon the a/v ratios of the input ground motions, as suggested in NBCC 1985. A comparison of the statistical results of the three damage parameters for the systems designed with these two methods of strength specification indicates that the NBCC 1985 base shear provisions provide consistent control over structural damage when the structural systems are subjected to ground motions with different a/v ratios. Key words: earthquakes, ground motions, response spectra, stiffness degrading systems, seismic design, base shear, yield strength, inelastic response, damage parameters.