News

May 17, 2019, Caledonia, Ont. - The fire marshal is investigating after fire tore through a Caledonia home Wednesday afternoon, causing $1 million in damages. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
May 17, 2019, Georgetown, Ont. - A transformer explosion triggered a power surge in the Georgetown area on Thursday, sparking fires and knocking out power to some homes. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
May 16, 2019, Black Duck Cove, N.L. - A fish plant in Black Duck Cove, a small community on the Great Northern Peninsula, caught fire Wednesday evening. The Western Star reports. | READ MORE
May 16, 2019, Penhold, Alta. - An urgent Mayday call was issued early Wednesday afternoon when local firefighters were trapped in a house fire after a floor collapsed. The Innisfail Province reports. | READ MORE
May 16, 2019, Ottawa - Nobody was injured when a double-decker OC Transpo bus caught fire east of downtown Ottawa Wednesday morning. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
May 16, 2019, Dartmouth, N.S. - Police are investigating what they say is a deliberately set fire at an apartment building in Dartmouth early Thursday morning. In a news release, Halifax Regional Police say emergency crews were called to the scene at around 3:45 a.m. Firefighters extinguished the fire shortly before 4:30 a.m. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Red Deer Emergency Services (RDES) in Alberta is now the only department in the world with four accreditations in fire and medical services.The department was recognized for receiving the Emergency Fire Dispatch Accredited Centre of Excellence accreditation at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 24.The accreditation was awarded in February and acknowledges the exceptional performance and professional service to both residents and first responders by the Red Deer 911 Emergency Communications Centre.“Our citizens are getting world-class service when they call into our 911 centre,” RDES Chief/Manager Ken McMullen said in a statement.“Not only are our operators providing the caller with exceptional care, but they are getting the best possible information and support to our crews as they respond to the situation.”In addition to the recent award, RDES has achieved the following accreditations: Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI): 2016 – 2020 Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre of Excellence: 2017 – 2020 Accreditation Canada – Accredited with Exemplary Standing 2018 – 2021 Red Deer’s 911 Emergency Communication Centre is now just one of 45 centres in the world with the Emergency Fire Dispatch accreditation, and one of 26 in the world, and one of only two in Canada, with both fire and medical dispatch accreditation.“I am very proud of the work our team has done to earn these accreditations,” said McMullen. “We always strive for continuous improvement and excellence and will continue to develop and hone our technical skills to meet and exceed standards for accreditation in the future.”The Red Deer 911 Emergency Communications Centre is a primary 911 public safety answering point for more than 70 municipalities in central and southern Alberta and serves as a 911 caller’s first contact when they dial the number.
Oakville, Ont. - The Oakville Fire Department Auto Extrication team has been selected by the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee to represent Canada and the U.S. at the World Rescue Organization Challenge in La Rochelle, France this September.The team is comprised of professional firefighters who develop their skills, represent their department and educate the community on their own personal free time. The team was started in 2003 and strives to contribute to the community, and skill development within the fire department.Competing and learning from other departments all over the world and some of the leading experts in the field of extrication will offer a great opportunity for the team members to gain some new knowledge. This will not only benefit the team members, but will be something the team can bring back to their department and the citizens and visitors of Oakville that we serve.What is Auto Extrication?The safe removal and treatment of victims who are trapped by some type of vehicle, machinery or equipment.Vehicle Rescue Challenges & Learning SymposiumsThese events are held across North America and provide emergency services an opportunity to come together and share techniques, new ideas and be exposed to new technology in the field of vehicle extrication. These events ensure departments keep up with changes in vehicle construction, and new innovations in safety. Participation in these events allows emergency responders to gain specialized life-saving knowledge that can be taken back and used in the community we serve. The Role of the Team:• Attend learning symposiums/rescue competitions where the team can learn about new car technology, methods, tool innovations and developments in vehicle construction and safety.• Practice, develop and apply these skills and techniques to be more efficient in extricating and treating patients at emergency calls.• Pass on this knowledge to their department so that all rescuers can also effectively rescue and treat victims in a timely manner. • Attend Oakville public events and educate the community on vehicle safety and what to do if you are involved in an accident.The Competition: • The team is comprised of six members. A captain, medic and four rescuers.• The team travels across North America to compete in Auto Extrication against other departments from around the world. There are two 20 minute events and one 10 minute event in which they compete. These events are Unlimited Pit (All tools permitted), Limited Pit (no powered hydraulics permitted. i.e. jaws of life) and the Rapid Pit (10 min event to simulate a patient crashing and needing immediate removal).• During the different pits, judges follow the team members and grade their performance. Marks are based on command presence and control, patient care, tool use, tool knowledge and overall safety.• Main Awards - first, second and third for all the pits, Overall award, Best Medic and Best Incident Commander.• Approximately 20 teams compete and from all over North America and Europe.Sponsorship Opportunities:Participation in Vehicle Rescue Challenges and Learning Symposiums requires a substantial commitment of time and money. The Town of Oakville, and the Oakville Professional Firefighters Association provide financial and operational support. In order to successfully train and attend Vehicle Rescue Challenges and Learning Symposiums, the team members must raise additional funds to help cover the costs involved. These expenses include entry fees equipment, travel costs and accommodations. These expenses average over $15,000 per year.For more information on sponsorship opportunities and how you or your department could help out visit the team’s Facebook page.
In a few short weeks, firefighters across the country will begin competing in events for the 2019 Canadian FireFit Championships.
Vaughan Fire & Rescue Service (VFRS) recently received a $10,000 grant from TransCanada for its firefighter camp for young women ages 15 to 18 years.
The Brantford Fire Department is honouring those who served in the First World War in a unique way, The Brantford Expositor reports | READ MORE
Gayanne Pacholzuk, a fire prevention officer with the Kelowna Fire Department in British Columbia, will be bringing the message of fire safety to elementary school children in Ethiopia in November. Pacholzuk is joining a medical team from RESTOR International that is going to the African country to provide free, life-altering surgeries to children and young adults with disabling and disfiguring contractures as a result of burns. “I look forward to being a part of the RESTOR team this year and being able to share my knowledge with Ethiopian people in hopes that some of the burn injuries can be prevented in the future,” she said. Pacholzuk, who has more than 21 years in the fire service, will work with the fire department in Bahir Dar and oversee the translation of fire prevention educational materials into Amharic, the official language in Ethiopia. At the Kelowna department, she oversees fire inspections, fire investigations, and public education. She is very active in the push for fire prevention and awareness across Canada and is president with the Fire Prevention Officer’s Association of B.C. Pacholzuk is on a committee for the National Building Code as well as two technical committees with the National Fire Protection Association, specializing in life safety in buildings and building construction. She is also very active with the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund and has volunteered as a camp counsellor for the past six summers at a camp for children who are burn survivors. RESTOR International said in a statement that the organization is thrilled to have Pacholzuk accompany the team to teach a sample program in elementary schools. RESTOR is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that helps disadvantaged children and adults in developing countries.
Jon Pegg, Ontario’s newly installed fire marshal, says he’s excited about working to protect firefighters and the public and promoting diversity in the fire service. “I look forward to working with and hearing from our many stakeholders on the many challenges they face and coming up with collaborative and creative ways to address those problems,” he said in a statement prepared for Fire Fighting in Canada. “Ultimately, I look forward to finding innovative ways to educate and protect our residents and to a day when fatalities caused by fire are virtually eliminated.” Pegg took over the helm on Feb. 20, replacing Ross Nichols who retired. He is no stranger to public fire and life safety, as he has been chief of emergency management for the Province of Ontario for the past eight months. Pegg has a long history in the fire service and started as a firefighter with the Richmond Hill Fire Department in 2000. He has been deputy chief and fire chief for the Innisfil Fire and Rescue Services as well as deputy fire chief for the Town of Georgina. He said he’s looking forward to the job and challenges. “I think what I am excited about is actually the same as the biggest challenge – the diversity within the fire service across Ontario and recognizing that diversity,” he said, as well as how the Office of the Fire Marshal meets those often different needs. He said his 23 years in various fire roles, as volunteer, career firefighter and captain, deputy chief and chief will help as he’s been fortunate to have been part of some amazing departments and teams. “I have worked in the most common types of departments (volunteer, composite and career) we see in Ontario which I believe will be a great asset in this role.” Pegg said he was drawn to the role of fire marshal because in that role he can help shape the fire service in Ontario. “I am passionate about fire safety and protecting the residents within Ontario,” he said. “I am passionate about firefighter safety (physical and mental). “I have greatly enjoyed each rank I have held as my career has progressed and I truly see being in the role of fire marshal as that next step. Being able to work with the municipal fire departments and stakeholders to shape the fire service with things like legislation, education and best practices is very exciting for me.” He said the fire marshal’s office and office of emergency management are very fortunate to have incredibly intelligent and hardworking people working within the teams. “I am excited to lead and work with these women and men to enhance fire safety throughout Ontario.” Pegg said he’s incredibly fortunate to be taking over the role after Nichols, and he saw the incredible way his predecessor interacted and valued his staff. “Although there are many great things I can say about Ross, this is something that will always stick with me. Ross was a very trusted and respected leader who put his people first 100 per cent of the time and this is something I hope I can continue to bring to the team.” For the time being, Pegg also remains in his role as chief of emergency management.
Jon Pegg is the new fire marshal for the Province of Ontario. He started the job Feb. 20 and replaces Ross Nichols. Pegg has been chief of emergency management for the Province of Ontario for the past eight months. He has a long history in the fire service and started as a firefighter with the Richmond Hill Fire Department in 2000. He left in 2011 to become deputy fire chief at the Town of Innisfil and remained there for 16 months. He oversaw the suppression, training and prevention divisions and assisted in the development of a council-adopted fire master plan. He became deputy fire chief of the Town of Georgina in April 2013 and remained in that job for a year. He was also Zone 4 rep for the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs for a year at that time. In March 2014, Pegg became fire chief and community emergency management co-ordinator of the Town of Innisfil, where he oversaw all components of the Innisfil Fire and Rescue Service. His focus has been on constantly looking to find better, safer practices for fire fighting, to serve residents and protect staff, and create a 100-per-cent customer service environment where staff make going above and beyond expectations part of their daily routine to serve the public.Pegg is the brother of Toronto Fire Services Chief Matthew Pegg.Click here to read more about Pegg's plans for the future.
On Feb. 18, his final day as Fire Marshal of Ontario, Ross Nichols thanked first responders for making Ontario a safer place to live. He posted a public letter and statement on Twitter to the women and men on the front line, thanking them for their service. “On this, my final day as Fire Marshal of Ontario, I’m sending out a thank you to all those in the first responder community who have chosen to serve,” he wrote. “To our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, call-takers and dispatchers … thank you for all you do. Be well, and play safe.” In the letter, he said that each and every day first responders roll out into the unknown, putting themselves in harm’s way in service to the public. “Whether it’s the middle of the night or in broad daylight, ridiculously hot or unbelievably cold, downtown in a major city or hours from the nearest community, paid or volunteering, you’re there for people on their most difficult days – helping them when they need it most.” In these increasingly challenging times, he said, the role of first responder demands a great deal from those willing to put it all on the line to help their fellow citizens. “You see and do the things most people don’t want (to) see and do … or simply aren’t able to do,” he wrote. “As a result, it’s vital that we support each other – not just physically, but mentally as well. “Please look after each other both on and off the street,” he wrote. Many from the first responder community responded to Ross’s tweet, congratulating him on his retirement and for his service. Toronto Fire Services Fire Chief Matthew Pegg wrote, “Thank you Ross! I wish you all the best in your next adventure and thank you for your public service.” Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., Fire Chief Vince MacKenzie said, “Congratulations Ross and thank you for your leadership and service to Ontario and across Canada. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you. Best wishes from Newfoundland and Labrador Fire Service.” The Ontario Provincial Police wrote, “Happy retirement! All the very best,” and the Police Association of Ontario wrote, “Thank you for your service! On behalf of the @PoliceAssocON’s 18,000 front-line police personnel members across the province, all the best in your future endeavours.”Jon Pegg, chief of emergency management for the province, has been named as the new fire marshal. Click here to see Ross’s tweet.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition Canada (HFSC) is awarding stipends to 20 qualifying fire departments that demonstrate a plan to conduct a community event featuring a side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstration.The stipend can be used to purchase materials to build a new display, rehab an existing display, produce educational materials distributed at the demonstration or to build an NFPA 13D display to be used at the event. Click here for more information about building an NFPA 13D display.The deadline to apply for the stipend is March 1, 2019.To qualify, applicants must be signed up for HFSC’s free Built for Life Fire Department program. To apply for the stipend, Built For Life Fire Department representatives must agree to implement their department’s event and fulfill the event implementation requirements by the end of 2019. They must ensure the event contains home fire sprinkler educational outreach; endeavour to extend the educational benefits beyond the actual event (such as through local media or placement of photos or video on the fire department’s website and social media outlets, if any); evaluate the educational effectiveness of the event; and report event summary and evaluation findings to the HFSC.Click here for more information and to enrol.The HFSC is a charitable organiztion that was formed in 1996 to inform the public about the life-saving value of home fire sprinkler protection in Canada. HFSC members include The Co-operators, the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association and regional representation for the National Fire Protection Association.
Aug. 1, 2017 – Fire-service equipment provider MSA has completed its $215-million acquisition of gear maker Globe.MSA chairman and CEO William Lambert said Monday the transaction boosts the company’s position as a leader in the North American market for firefighter personal protective equipment .“Globe is a highly recognized and respected brand of firefighter turnout gear, which very nicely complements our own line of firefighter protective equipment,” Lambert said in a press release.“With virtually no product overlap, the acquisition aligns well with our corporate strategy in that it expands our core product portfolio in a key customer segment.”Lambert said MSA can now help to protect firefighters from head to toe, with Cairns Helmets, the G1 self-contained breathing apparatus, and Globe turnout gear and boots.MSA said Globe Manufacturing’s management team, including previous owners Don Welch, Rob Freese and Gef Freese, will continue to work for the company over the short term to ensure an effective transition.Pittsfield, N.H.-based Globe is North America’s oldest and largest maker of firefighter protective clothing, having been founded in 1887. Globe launched its Athletix line of bunker gear in April.MSA entered the breathing apparatus market in 1917; it has focused in the last few years on the customizable G1 SCBA and integrated thermal imaging camera.MSA is based north of Cranberry Township, Pa.; it employs about 4,300 people worldwide, and has revenues of U.S. $1.15 billion in 2016.Welch said when the deal was announced June 28 that it is a good fit for both parties, and ensures a solid future for Globe.
The IAFF welcomes the federal government’s announcement of $80 million for a national Community Heroes Benefit for the families of Canada’s fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers. Ottawa's Mar. 22 announcement, is the culmination of a longstanding IAFF lobby for a public safety officer compensation (PSOC) benefit.The IAFF commends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Government and Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, for listening to the IAFF and other first responder agencies and for following through on a commitment to address this longstanding and important issue.Goodale has been a long-time champion of the benefit. It was a key element of his private member’s motion, M-388, which was adopted in the House of Commons in 2012, and he moved the item forward swiftly after he was appointed Minister in 2015.Thanks also go to the many IAFF members who helped lobby the issue on Parliament Hill at every edition of the IAFF Canadian Legislative Conference since 1992.“The IAFF commends the Liberal Government for keeping its promise and for establishing a Community Heroes Benefit in Budget 2017,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “This benefit will allow a grateful nation to formally recognize the sacrifices made by fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers and will ensure once and for all that their families don’t have to worry about their immediate financial security.”The benefit, a one-time, tax-free and direct payment to the surviving family of fire fighters, police, paramedics and other public safety officers who die in the line of duty, establishes a minimum baseline of compensation that the survivors of all public safety officers across Canada are entitled to, regardless of the city or province in which they worked.Budget 2017 provides $80 million over five years beginning in 2018-2019 for the benefit and $20 million thereafter.
Richard Boyes, executive director of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), will be retiring at the end of May. The announcement was made following a board meeting of the association March 28. OAFC president and Essa Township Fire Chief Cynthia Ross Tustin said in a letter that Boyes will be missed. She thanked him for all his contributions to the improvement of the OAFC. “Richard has worked tirelessly over the past seven years, ensuring the OAFC has a solid government relations program, successfully implemented our candidate testing program through Ontario Fire Administration Inc., strengthened our member support services, leads a strong team of professionals that has grown and expanded our events, partnerships, programs and services, and has ensured our association is financially sound. “The OAFC is in a strong position due to Richard's leadership and dedication to our members, partners and stakeholders.” Boyes has more than 44 years of experience serving his community in both the volunteer and full-time fire service. He is an experienced fire services executive, having filled many roles, including fire chief, consultant and Office of the Fire Marshal fire services advisor. Boyes has been executive director of the association for more than six years. He was chief operating officer at the OAFC for six months prior to that. Before working at the OAFC, he ran his own consulting business and was fire chief for the Town of Oakville for six years. Prior to that, he was fire chief at Sarnia Fire Rescue Services for nearly eight years. He was fire services advisor with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office for six years. Between 2000 and 2011, he was on the board of directors of the OAFC and was president from 2007 to 2010.
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) has commended the federal budget tabled by the Liberals, saying in a press release that it has a number of crucial measures that will support strong communities.The budget, released by Finance Minister Bill Morneau on March 19, is the final one before the federal election next October.Click here view the federal budget.CAFC President and Edmonton Fire Chief Ken Block said several investments stood out for the association.“The investments in municipal infrastructure and housing hold opportunity for rectifying vulnerabilities that have resulted in recent tragedies,” he said in the press release. “The support for the Indigenous Fire Marshal’s office and the FireSmart program are needed and all hazards emergency response funding will be put to good use.”The CAFC strongly commended an investment of $25 million over five years to create a pan-Canadian suicide-prevention service available 24/7 in all parts of the country. “First responders not only respond to suicide calls, they also fall victim to them,” said Block. “I’m pleased to see this taking shape and the CAFC will be pleased to assist where we can.”The association also was pleased to see opportunities for training, diversity, and apprenticeship. The statement said that, in the coming weeks, the CAFC will be looking more closely at the budget and its implications and will remain available to all departments to assist in relevant files.Following are the CAFC’s list of some of the highlights of the budget: $25 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing, to work with experienced and dedicated partners in the space to support a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service, in order to provide people across Canada with access to bilingual, 24/7, crisis support from trained responders, using the technology of their choice (voice, text or chat). This service will leverage and build on existing services and experiences of partners dedicated to suicide prevention. $5 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to Public Safety Canada to develop all-hazard awareness-raising activities that are targeted to specific, at-risk audiences such as low-income Canadians, seniors, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, and indigenous people. $260 million over two years, on a cash basis, starting in 2019–20, to Public Safety Canada to support provincial and territorial disaster relief and recovery efforts through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements Program. $151.23 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, and $9.28 million per year ongoing, to improve emergency management in Canada, including in Indigenous communities. This investment will improve Canada’s ability to predict and respond to threats through the use of early-warning systems, and enhance the understanding of the nature of the risks posed by floods, wildfires and earthquakes. In addition, this investment will help to assess the condition and resilience of Canada’s critical infrastructure – including energy grids, water and food supplies and health services – in the aftermath of a natural disaster. $65 million in 2018–19 for STARS to replace its aging fleet and acquire new emergency ambulance helicopters. This funding will be made available through Public Safety Canada. $211 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $49.4 million per year ongoing to support increased resiliency and emergency management on-reserves, and $48 million over four years, starting in 2020–21, to renew funding for infrastructure projects on-reserve that will protect communities from climate-related hazards, which are stated to include support for the Indigenous Fire Marshalls Office and Fire Smart. Over $1.7 billion over five years, and $586.5 million per year ongoing for a new Canada Training Benefit—a personalized, portable training benefit to help people plan for and get the training they need.  $40-billion for the 10-year National Housing Strategy, which will help ensure that vulnerable Canadians, including low-income seniors, have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nation communities. This will double the government’s commitment to municipalities in 2018–19 and will provide much-needed infrastructure funds for communities of all sizes, all across the country. $1.7 billion over 13 years, starting in 2019–20, to establish a new national high-speed Internet program, the Universal Broadband Fund. The fund would build on the success of the Connect to Innovate program, and would focus on extending “backbone” infrastructure to underserved communities (backbone is the central channel used to transfer Internet traffic at high speed – the Internet equivalent of a major roadway or railway spur). For the most difficult-to-reach communities, funding may also support “last-mile” connections to individual homes and businesses. $25 million over 10 years, starting in 2020–21, to fund Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research CIMVHR’s ongoing operations, the implications from which can often benefit first responders. The CAFC is an independent, non-profit organization representing about 3,500 fire departments across Canada. The primary mission of CAFC is to promote the highest standard of public safety in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world to ensure the protection of the public through leadership, advocacy and active collaboration with key stakeholders.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) is thrilled to be working in partnership with Jenny's Heroes Canada once again to support volunteer firefighters across Ontario.  Jenny's Heroes Canada has decided to offer three Fire Service Equipment Grant opportunities in 2019. The majority of fire departments in Ontario rely on the services of volunteer firefighters to provide fire protection, education and emergency first response in their communities. Due to smaller populations, with a smaller tax base, many of these departments are challenged to purchase new equipment, gear and technology to protect these firefighters so they can provide the skilled, competent and caring services to the residents they are committed to protect. Through Jenny’s Heroes Canada, the Jenny Jones Foundation is offering grants of up to $25,000 to provide safety equipment to Ontario’s volunteer fire departments.  “I have a profound respect for anyone who chooses a life of service to the community,” says Jenny, “even more so when the risks are great.” Jones grew up in London, Ont. and wishes to give back to her home province. In May 2018, the Jenny Jones Foundation reached out to the OAFC with a vision to give back to those who serve in their communities, and where a financial contribution would make a significant impact. The OAFC immediately recognized the potential to work with Jenny by providing a medium to reach those departments in Ontario where this opportunity would make a significant difference. In addition, the opportunity aligned well with the OAFC’s mandate to provide access to resources that help support its members’ role as fire and emergency service leaders in their communities.  In July 2018, the OAFC and Jenny Jones launched Jenny’s Heroes Canada Fire Service Equipment Grant to support volunteer fire services in Ontario. There was an overwhelming response from departments across Ontario with more than 100 applications received. Both the OAFC and Jenny were amazed at the incredible response and participation in such an exciting opportunity. After a final review and based on the significant need identified through the application process, Jenny decided to increase the amount of her Jenny’s Heroes Canada grant to $50,000 from the original amount of $25,000, offering grants to six departments that purchased an array of equipment to assist in their public safety efforts.  “Wow. We received more applications than anyone expected,” says Jenny. “It’s clear the need is great, so I remain committed to continue providing safety equipment to Ontario’s volunteer firefighters. Let’s keep it going!”    Jenny’s Heroes Canada has decided to offer three Ontario Fire Service Equipment Grant Opportunities in 2019, for up to $25,000 for each opportunity. Click here for more information about the grants, criteria and the application process.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) is applauding the provincial government for introducing legislation that will allow full-time firefighters to volunteer as firefighters in their communities. The legislation, known as Bill 57, the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, was introduced in the Legislature earlier this week. Presently, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) prohibits full-time firefighters from serving as volunteer firefighters. Firefighting full time and volunteering on the side is known as “two-hatting” or “double hatting.” If passed, Schedule 18 of Bill 57 will amend the FPPA to, among other things, enhance protections for volunteer firefighters engaged in double-hatting and address collective bargaining and interest arbitration in the sector. The OAFC maintains that the legislation, if passed, will protect firefighters who are employed full time and chose to volunteer as a firefighter in the community where they live.  The OAFC said in a statement that it is also pleased to see proposed changes to reform the interest arbitration process, which will help municipalities' evidence “local economic realities to be fully considered” by the arbitrator. “We commend the Ford government for acting on these long-standing issues, and look forward to continuing to work together, protecting our firefighters, and ultimately keeping Ontario's residents safe," OAFC president Stephen Hernen, who is fire chief for the Town of Huntsville, said in a statement. Finance Minister Vic Fedeli introduced the proposed move as part of the province’s 2018 economic outlook and fiscal review. The changes would prevent firefighters from being disciplined, fined or suspended if they want to volunteer on the side. Specifically, the legislation would amend the FPPA to prohibit employers and employers’ organizations from refusing to employ a person as a firefighter, refusing to assign a person to fire protection services or discharging a firefighter because the person has worked, is working, or intends to work as a volunteer firefighter. The legislation’s enhanced protections for two-hatters are expected to provide all workplace parties – both associations and employers alike – with much needed clarity on their rights and responsibilities towards volunteer firefighters in relation to the longstanding issue. If passed in its current form, Schedule 18 clarifies that working as a volunteer firefighter will not constitute “unlawful activity.” Accordingly, associations will not be permitted to require employers to discharge firefighters because they have, are or intend to work as a volunteer firefighter. The legislation also proposes the FPPA be amended so that the present three-member arbitration boards be replaced with single arbitrators for dispute resolution. The amendments also include new criteria to be taken into consideration in an arbitrator’s decision and a requirement that an arbitrator provide written reasons for a decision at the request of either party. The OAFC represents more than 700 chief fire officers in Ontario, from across 442 municipalities, who are responsible for the management and delivery of fire, rescue and emergency response to 13 million residents.
The B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund celebrated its 40th anniversary Oct. 18 by hosting more than 40 local firefighters at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver.The Burn Fund is a registered charity established in April 1978 by the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters and provides life-saving, life-supporting, and life-enriching services to the people in B.C.Throughout its history, the Burn Fund has played a big part in enhancing the quality of care a burn and trauma patient receives from bedside through to recovery.The Burn Fund and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park are linked by events that took place in 2007.That year, severe winter storms caused major damage to Bright Nights Christmas lights display in Stanley Park, severely impacting donations to the Burn Fund. At the same time, a 46-ton tree fell onto Capilano Suspension Bridge, closing the park for five months. To celebrate the bridge re-opening, Nancy Stibbard, owner and CEO of Capilano Group, decided to hold a fundraiser for the Burn Fund to help replenish lost donations from its annual holiday event. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as partial proceeds from Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park have been donated to the Burn Fund ever since.Through the generosity of donors such as the Capilano Group, the Burn Fund has achieved many significant accomplishments. This includes the notable achievement of completing a $13.1-million capital campaign to raise funds to build the new Burn Fund Centre in 2015 – a home away from home for burn and trauma survivors.Stibbard's donations have exceeded $425,000 and her continued financial support through Canyon Lights has played a significant role in bringing awareness to the Burn Fund. She will be recognized at this year's Responder Dinner Gala on April 27, 2019.The B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund has been providing prevention and survivor support programs and funding medical care and training for the people of B.C. and the Yukon for almost four decades. The Burn Fund is built by more than 3,800 professional firefighters from 53 communities in B.C. and the Yukon who dedicate their funds and time to the cause.Click here to watch a video of the event.Click here to learn more about the Burn Fund.
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFCs) has released its written pre-budget submission to the federal finance committee. The submission, titled Ensuring Canada’s Competitiveness by Mastering Public Safety Risks, calls for, among other things, enhanced use of federal funds earmarked for first responder mental health. The CAFC wants the federal government to adjust how it uses $30 million in funds that are set aside for first responder mental health. The recommendation is one of five in the six-page submission. Specifically, the CAFC is asking the government to adapt and implement Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) so that it’s nationally available to first responders rather than just develop a pilot. Budget 2018 proposed to invest $10 million over five years, starting this year for Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to develop an ICBT pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers. The CAFC supports the research levers and states that at least 13 ICBT models have been developed and evaluated, but notes pilots are known to be shelved at the end of the funding period. “We ask that the project specifications be revised from developing and pilot testing, to adapting, evaluating and implementing, in order to ensure that the $10 million reaches as many first responders as possible,” the CAFC states. According to the CAFC, the government also proposed to provide $20 million over five years to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment to address the incidence of post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety officers. The CAFC also commends such an initiative. However, the association is asking that the intention be revised from studying the incidence to studying the implementation of innovations that could help first responders nationally. “We respectfully disagree that more research to identify the problem is necessary,” the CAFC submission states, noting that many interventions have already been developed for first responders. “We need to use the funding for implementation (of) science projects that make these interventions accessible in new, innovative, cost effective and appropriate ways to a larger number of responders.” The CAFC submission asks that the CIPSRT, CIHR, Department of National Defence and Mental Health Commission of Canada work together to implement and evaluate the Road to Mental Health Readiness (R2MR) Program or an equivalent resilience training for all fire departments in the country. “The federal government has the people, funding, mechanisms and levers. We are asking for the political will to make it happen,” the submission states. In the brief, the CAFC also recommends that: The government provide funding in the amount of $50 million per year for a fire sector research and innovation program to develop and test hazard responses to social and building code innovations. The CAFC states that Canada needs a more reliable and regular mechanism to respond to innovation. The government implement continued ongoing funding for all Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) program teams and ensure national deployment strategies are in place. The federal government is providing $3.1 million annually and ongoing to establish the HUSAR program, but the CAFC wants to see stable and predictable funding moving forward. That the government reinstate its Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) to enhance regional capacity for all types of emergencies. The JEEP, which offered matching funding for equipment, training and other infrastructure needed by the country’s fire departments, was terminated for reasons unclear to the CAFC. The federal government implement a national fire advisor secretariat to provide substantive expertise in linking federal fire-related initiatives. The CAFC states it would be willing to help provide such a role with the appropriate funding. The CAFC is asking its members to forward the submission to their federal MP and perhaps include a cover letter describing the importance of one or more of the recommendations to their communities. Click here for the CAFC submission.

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