Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Labour relations lands in Toronto

By CFF Staff   

Headlines News fire chiefs labour relations

Feb. 14, 2024, Toronto – The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and Hicks Morley law firm hosted their annual labour relations seminar from Jan. 23 to 25 in Toronto.

The event drew a packed house and featured a full agenda at the Marriott Courtyard hotel, with attendees coming from Ontario and beyond.

The conference kicked off with an update from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office. Of note, the OFM sent out a volunteer recruitment and retention survey in late 2023 that closed on Dec. 8. There were over 1,100 respondents and the results will be released soon.

An OAFC update followed. On the labour relations front, they shared that out of the 30,000 firefighters in Ontario, 18,000 are volunteer. Only 16 per cent of the cancer claims come from volunteers, leading to the suggestion that departments ensure volunteers know they are supported as well.


Bargaining trends identified during the conference include more 24-hour shifts incorporated across the province, increased funds for mental health supports via the benefits package, and further seeking of police/fire parity.

Other topics included subtle acts of exclusions, responding to bullying and human rights allegations, WSIB and PTSD, media training for fire chiefs and a panel on service levels. Dr. Larry Iverson gave a keynote on reducing pressure and avoiding burnout. Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg keynoted on leadership lessons learned the hard way.

Paul Hutt, fire chief for Ottawa, was awarded Fire Chief of the Year.

The 2025 Hicks Morley Labour Relations Seminar will be held from Jan. 21-25 in Toronto.

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