Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Kirkland Lake strikes a deal with firefighters

By Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative,   

Department News News fire fire department firefighters Ontario

Apr. 15, 2024, Kirkland Lake, Ont. – Kirkland Lake plans to enter into a new three-year collective agreement with its local firefighters.

At the town’s April 2 council meeting, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was approved with members of the International Association of Fire Fighters’ (IAFF) Local 573.

The agreement covers the period from Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2026. It includes a wage increase of 4.5 per cent in 2024, 2.5 per cent in 2025 and 2 per cent in 2026.

Their previous collective agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2023. The town and representatives from IAFF Local 573 negotiated on Dec. 3, 11 and 19 — with the tentative settlement being reached on Feb. 27 — to address the needs and concerns of the union’s members.


According to the town, one of the union’s member’s concerns was the increased cost of living. The settlement will also include the hire of two new full-time firefighters to address health and safety concerns.

The matter was initially discussed in a closed session. After returning to their public session, councillors further discussed the topic and voted on the MOA.

A recorded vote was requested by Coun. Casey Owens and passed four to three. Mayor Stacey Wight, councillors Rick Owen, Owens and Janice Ranger were in favour of the agreement while councillors Pat Kiely, Lad Shaba and Dolly Dikens were against it.

“I think it’s too costly for a town of our size,” said Dikens.

The health and safety of the town’s essential services are paramount, Wight said.

“I do not want to kick any item down the road for any future council. And I believe that’s essentially what we’d be doing if we went to arbitration. We may escape some costs this year and next year, but eventually it would fall into the laps of future council and I will not do that to this community,” she said.

“It was a fair and open negotiation, which at times in the Town of Kirkland Lake, has not occurred.”

Owens said it’s a testimony from previous councils and part of their current council that they can support their local firefighters.

“This is a fair agreement that was fairly negotiated between staff and the fire department. It shows cooperation on both sides. And it guarantees that moving forward that it’s something that we can support and it guarantees the safety of our community,” he said.

Owen said he commends all of those involved in the negotiations for agreeing on something reasonable.

“I’m very pleased with this agreement. I’ve seen too many times when the fire department has gone to arbitration and every time it has cost us millions of dollars. I’m not willing to roll the dice on that again,” he said.

“We also know that the Ministry of Labour likes the number four in terms of work people. Not three. We’ve got our fire department to agree to three… If we went to arbitration, I strongly suspect that the firefighters are going to go for four people per platoon, which is going to end up costing us even more.”

When your house is on fire, you’re not going to be worried about how much firefighters are getting paid, Owen said. “I can guarantee you because I’ve been through that,” he said.

The collective agreement will be presented to council at a future meeting for formal approval by bylaw.

Print this page


Stories continue below