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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service launches diversity and equity training program for prospective firefighters

August 9, 2021
By CFF Staff

Aug. 9, 2021, Winnipeg  – The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is now accepting applications for a new training program that aims to eliminate or reduce barriers that make it challenging for Winnipeg residents from diverse backgrounds who want to pursue a career in firefighting in Winnipeg. The WFPS has been accepting applications from community groups for the past few weeks and now the application process opens to those from diverse backgrounds within the general public.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and equity, the WFPS is proud to offer a brand-new training course for Winnipeg residents to obtain firefighter certification with fewer barriers to their success,” said John Lane, fire and paramedic chief for WFPS in a media release.

“Winnipeg is a diverse community that depends vitally on our emergency services and it’s important that the WFPS represents the community it serves,” said Mayor Brian Bowman in a press statement. “Programs like this will put an important focus on making the WFPS more inclusive and reducing barriers for potential applicants with diverse backgrounds.”

The Diversity and Equity Firefighting Training (DEFT) program will see WFPS staff teach the Manitoba Emergency Services College (MESC) Firefighter I and Firefighter II certification program during evening hours at the WFPS Training Academy. Firefighting I and II certification is a minimum requirement to be eligible to apply for a firefighter position in Winnipeg.

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This training has traditionally required full-time schooling in-person at the MESC in Brandon, Manitoba for nine months. This new program will allow participants from designated equity groups to train in the evenings in Winnipeg for 15 months, eliminating room and board costs, and reducing the barriers associated with fees, time and transportation required to become certified as a firefighter.

“We know achieving the goal of completing firefighter training can pose challenges related to tuition and living expenses, or that work or family obligations may prevent some from moving to another city for the better part of a year. We hope this program helps alleviate some challenges that get in the way of prospective firefighters’ career aspirations,” said Lane in the statement.

The WFPS encourages any Winnipeg resident who aspires to a career in firefighting and who identifies as a woman, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit), a person with a disability, or as a racialized person to apply for the first class of the DEFT program, which will begin training in October of this year. The deadline to apply for the first training class is August 20. The cost to attend this 15-month program is approximately $8,500.

For more information, visit City of Winnipeg – Diversity & Equity Fire Training Program.