Madawaska Valley Fire Department members Earl Dombroskie (L), David Afelskie, Shawn Dombroskie, Fire Chief Corwin Quade.
During the October 11 All Candidates Meeting, Mayor Kim Love said that the Ontario government had recently reversed its decision regarding firefighter certification. Love had presented a briefing document to the Honourable Prabmeet Sarkaria, MPP, Parliamentary Assistant to the Honourable Michael Tibollo, MPP. Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) annual conference in Ottawa last August 21. The 91-page document (see Agenda of the Sept. 4 Regular Council meeting) resulted from a collaboration by our mayor and with Township of Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue and Ms. Annette Gilchrist, Clerk/Treasurer of Admaston/Bromley.
At AMO their delegation presented the case that firefighter certification would be an onerous and expensive burden on rural municipalities such as Madawaska Valley. This is because the certification process requires volunteer firefighters to take time off from their employment in order to attend training programs, often at some distance. This could result in considerable expense and potentially made it even more difficult to recruit volunteer firefighters. Ratepayers should be aware that Fire Chief Corwin Quade had previously confirmed to Council that MV Fire Department already gives its volunteer firefighters extensive training.
Vic Fedeli , Minister of Finance, said,
We heard very clearly from municipalities and stakeholders that the certification regulation would present significant challenges for fire services and municipalities – in particular, small, rural and northern municipalities with volunteer fire departments.
The reversal by the Province indicates that Love’s work on the subject has contributed to a win for MV and gives us another reason to celebrate with our firefighters during October, Fire Prevention Month.