Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Matthew Pegg announces his retirement from Toronto Fire Services

Laura Aiken   

News Matthew Pegg


May 10, 2024, Toronto — Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg announced his retirement today and will officially hang up his helmet on Oct. 4.

“I am deeply appreciative to be able to retire healthy, after more than 32 years of active service as a firefighter. I have loved being a member of the fire service and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve. Beginning as a volunteer firefighter in Georgina Fire Station 1-4, to the last eight years serving as the chief of Toronto Fire Services, there has not been a single day when I have not been immensely proud to serve as a member of the fire service,” he said.

Pegg has held Canada’s largest fire department post since May of 2016, when he was promoted from his role as Toronto Fire Services’ deputy chief of administrative services to that of interim fire chief. He was made the permanent chief in April 2017 and interim general manager of emergency management from 2018 to 2022.

He found himself in the national spotlight three years later when he was tasked with being Toronto’s COVID-19 incident commander from March 2020 to April 2022, a role like no other that involved building the largest incident management system in Toronto’s history, and one of the largest in Canada’s.  This was a culmination of a series of career firsts, and nor would they be the last.

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It’s been quite the career for a kid from small town Ontario, who became a firefighter with the town of Georgina in September of 1992 at the age of 18. In Georgina, he negotiated the first collective agreement with the town on behalf of IAFF Local 3691as the association’s president. He became the deputy chief in Georgina, then was recruited by Ajax Fire and Emergency Services in 2002 as deputy chief, followed by a recruitment by Brampton in 2008 to serve as deputy chief. He landed at TFS in 2013.

In 2016, he created TFS’ first transformation plan and inclusion plan. He led the department to its first CFAI accreditation in 2019 and achieved the second accreditation this year. Toronto is the largest city in North America with a CFAI accredited service.

Pegg has been at the helm of some of the largest emergencies Toronto’s seen, including the 6-alarm fire at the Badminton and Racquet Club in February of 2017.

His efforts have left him the recipient of several honours: the Ontario Medal for Firefighter’s Bravery, Ontario Fire Service Long Service Medal, Fire Service Exemplary Service Medal, the Heroism and Community Service Medal, and he was named the 2020 Fire Chief of the Year at the 2021 Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs Hicks Morley Labour Relations Seminar. He is a former president of the OAFC.

It’s no wonder Toronto Life magazine ranked him the 6th most influential person in the city in 2021.

The fire service also knows Pegg as a regular keynote for its conferences and those of its allied affiliates. His “Great Sleep Requires Shiny Shoes” keynote was the first to pull back the curtain on lessons, reflections and difficulties of being the pandemic’s incident commander for Canada’s largest city. He is a regular voice in Fire Fighting in Canada as co-author of the Leadership Forum column.

The serious golfer, who played competitively for several years, is also a licenced automotive/truck and coach mechanic as well licenced commercial pilot who flew as a corporate pilot for six years.

This multi-talented man with a fondness for fairways and greens has left an incredible legacy in the service; they are some big shiny shoes to fill. Undoubtedly, recruitment will soon be underway.


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