Fire Fighting in Canada

Fire Rescue Canada slated for Sept. 13-16

July 15, 2019 
By Tina Saryeddine

Every year, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) holds its annual meeting and conference called Fire Rescue Canada.

This year, the conference will be set in Calgary, Alta., from Sept. 13-16.

Fire Rescue Canada offers a terrific lineup of speakers, educational events, need-to-know sponsors, a sold-out exhibit show, and some amazing social and networking activities. You can learn more about it on the CAFC website.

However, Fire Rescue Canada is more than a conference.


It’s also when the CAFC begins planning for the 2020 operating year.

Let me take you behind the scenes at Fire Rescue Canada 2019.

■ Planning for 2020
Before Fire Rescue Canada officially begins, the CAFC board of directors and our National Advisory Council (NAC) will meet to discuss plans for 2020.

For those unfamiliar, the CAFC’s NAC is composed of the presidents or president’s delegates from each provincial and territorial chiefs’ association and from national affiliate organizations.

Both groups then meet with the Canadian Council of Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners. These meetings are a key vehicle for making sure that the CAFC’s policy issues and priorities are in lock-step and supportive of the issues that are faced closest to home.

By the end of these meetings, key policy priorities and areas of focus at the national and federal levels will be identified and will serve as “test materials” for the larger group to decide on for 2020.

■ Women Fire Chiefs and Company Officers
As a first for this year, on Friday, Sept. 13 the CAFC Women Fire Chiefs and Company Officers Network and Alberta Fire, Emergency Management and Wild Fire Management will host a nationwide joint meeting for women chiefs and company officers. This meeting is free and all women are welcome to attend.

The meeting will be followed by an “all allies” meeting of men and women at Fire Rescue Canada.

Why a women’s-only meeting?

Expert in diversity and inclusion, Chief jona olson suggests that to bring underrepresented groups to the forefront requires both within and across-group conversations.

■ CAFC’s town hall and annual general meeting
From closed-door meetings to the CAFC Town Hall, each of CAFC’s committees, from Building Codes to Dangerous Goods, Inter-operability to Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion to Redefining Fire then have the opportunity to share with the fire sector the initiatives that they are working on to advance the fire sector nationally.

There is also a call for resolutions which, over the years, has had many important impacts.

For example, it was a 2012 resolution to focus on the mental health needs of firefighters that prefaced CAFC’s commitment as a topmost policy priority in its advocacy with the federal government.

■ Interesting speakers
Last but not least, Fire Rescue Canada is about the fire service. It’s about interesting speakers and committed representatives of the industry.

By the end of the conference, attendees will have learned a lot about diversity and inclusion, what happens when a department is thrust on to the national scene, what fire departments can do to get ready for the federal election, how we can be “all-in for mental health,” and what motivates volunteer firefighters to join departments, among others.

Most importantly, however, Fire Rescue Canada is about taking the time to meet each other – reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

We hope to see you in September.

All CAFC members and friends and colleagues in the fire service are welcome to register for Fire Rescue Canada on the CAFC website at

Tina Saryeddine, PhD, MHA, CHE, is executive director of the CAFC.

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