Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi receives Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction

By Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada   

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Photo credit: Institute of Public Administration of Canada Toronto Region Twitter

Jan. 31, 2024, Mississauga, Ont. – Mississauga Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management Deryn Rizzi has been awarded the 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration. 

Her distinguished career in the fire service is a testament to her unwavering commitment to public service, the lieutenant governor’s office said in a press release. She is being recognized for her dedication to inclusion, accountability, and service delivery.

Rizzi began her fire fighting career with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service where she rose through the ranks, holding the positions of training officer, captain, deputy fire chief, and fire chief. In 2021 she was hired in Mississauga to be that city’s fire chief. She is also a PhD candidate at York University.

A thought leader in the public sector and the fire service industry, Rizzi is known as a speaker at local, national and international conferences on topics ranging from leadership to community safety, and has published many articles in magazines focused on the fire service industry.


She consistently seeks out ways to strengthen the bond between the fire service and the community it serves, such as raising public awareness about fire prevention, emergency preparedness, and the vital role played by first responders. Her leadership has paved the way for a high standard of service delivery, ensuring that citizens receive the highest quality service from their municipal government.

In 2018, under her leadership, Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service received a 100 per cent citizen satisfaction score, the highest rating in the city’s history. In 2022, she oversaw emergency management in Mississauga, which received national and international recognition for resilient community programming. 

Rizzi has also sought opportunities to champion inclusivity in the fire service industry. She leads initiatives to encourage women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ individuals to pursue careers in the fire service and works to remove barriers to entry. Through her PhD studies, she researches the perceived barriers to entry and career growth in the fire fighting profession to advance knowledge of evidence-based solutions for diversity and inclusion. 

Chief Rizzi forged partnerships with academic institutions and secured grants to facilitate research in understudied areas in emergency management. The research included leveraging predictive analytics to improve emergency response times and resource allocation, which was presented at the International Defence and Homeland Security Simulation Workshop, and conducting a study on disaster preparedness and resilience during the coronavirus pandemic. 

She demonstrates a strong commitment to community service, serving on the Board of Directors of Mackenzie Health, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Human Relations Committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

In recognition of her significant contributions to the fire service industry, Rizzi was also awarded Fire Chief of the Year in 2023 by the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association and was named on Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list by WXN in 2022. 

The Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction is expected to be presented by the lieutenant governor at a ceremony in Toronto on Feb. 28.

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