September 20-21, 2016

Firefighter Committee Minutes

UNDE FR Steering Committee


September 20-21, 2016

In Attendance

Serge Desbiens                        Chair

Blair Winger                            NCR

Carl Darveau                           Quebec

Ryan Stewart                           Halifax

Josh Peterson                           British Columbia

Mike Mymko                           Saskatchewan

Neil Perry                                New Bruinswick

Ben Godin                               Petawawa

Bill McKeown                         Alberta

Jason Elder                              (Speaker)

Brendalee Blaney                     Staff Resource


Day 1 – September 20, 2016

Brother Desbiens opened the meeting with a moment of silence for Brother Don Martin.

Brother Desbiens welcomed the group and everyone introduced themselves.

Following a short discussion, it was decided that the agenda items, although numbered, would not necessarily be addressed in the order according to their numerical rating. (Note:  for ease of referring to the agenda, the times will be listed according to their number on the agenda)

The following discussions were undertaken by the members of the FR Steering Committee ahead of the visit with the CFFM (who was scheduled to appear on the 2nd day of the meeting(s).)

Item # 12 – Procurement of Clothing from Supplier – Brother Winger described how the FC goes on and places and order – most guys buying their own.  Brother Winger went on to indicated that the CFFM 2 would be speaking to this particular item the next day sitting of the Committee and that he was surprised that guys couldn’t just order.  As some members of the group expressed concerns that the items for purchase were “garbage gear”, it was suggested that folks take pictures of the items and send these up the chain as there is a contract currently in place with Logistiks Corp.  It was noted that the CFFM is advisory and there is a whole procurement department within DND.

CFFM 2 will speak to procurement process.  There is a National Directive on dress but local FCs don’t always comply.  Main concern was the quality of uniforms we get (uniform and boots).  It was reiterated that folks can order themselves.  They need to set up account with Logistik

Brother Desbiens indicated that folks needed to go back to the fire halls and see who gets what and send the information to him in two months – i.e., who’s buying what etc.

(Note:  this information should be sent to Brother Desbiens soonest)

#1 – Training – It was indicated that some guys don’t get to go on training; that there is no budget.  It was also indicated that some hires come in with the course already and that affects competitions, etc.  It was queried whether the CFFM’s office could hold a national training budget.  FMD 1004 was mentioned.  The question was asked as to whether or not training could be standardized and the answer was no and it was suggested folks read FMD 1004 to get indication of what the training is.

Brother John MacLennan, National President, came in to address the group.  He indicated that we are in negotiations and that we appear to be at a standstill.  He indicated some are pushing to have FRs come under RP Ops and that some are afraid to lose Command and Control and that the Chief of the Army doesn’t want to give FRs up.  He then went on to talk about Presumptive Cancer and indicated we will talk with Ralph Goodale.  In regards to Physical Fitness, nothing is moving on that.  He next spoke on issues around Infrastructure – centralized ADM IE and being briefed last December – projects over 100M make it public/private endeavor.

Brother MacLennan indicated that a meeting was held with the Minister and spoke about FRs.  Brother MacLennan stated that the Minister was unaware that he had civilian FRs.  Brother MacLennan then stated that they pushed on pay inequities and talked about P3 – imbedding contractors in the workplace – didn’t rule out that FR services could be contracted out too.  He spoke about contracting out in DND in Europe which has resulted in going from 250,000 pers in support of DND down to 50,000 – privatization began in the dockyards.  He indicated fire services, food services, etc – everyone – and that Defence Construction Canada was pushing this.

Item # 3 – Early Retirement

PM letter regarding presumptive cancer is pending

Provincial mandatory retirement is 60, in the Federal Government it is 65 (as of 1 Jan 2013)

Pension accrual rate:  30 years @ 2.33%,

Brother Winger has meeting with McKenna on Friday

Pension accrual is problematic:  hours of work 37.5 hrs vs. 42 hrs

Advisory Committee initiative to PSAC about a year away

Political action may be required, before advisory board from PSAC Pension Advisory Committee

Before posting anything or sending out information, wait until Brother Winger has meeting with McKenna.

That the release of information be consistent, for strategy and timing – will put out summary of proposal

(Note:  the letter from Brother Winger to McKenna is attached and her letter to the President of TB is also enclosed)

It was noted that Brother George Peacock’s name (a long standing FR Steering Committee member) was recognized on the fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall

Item #5 – Binding Arbitration

Explanation of strike conciliation by Brother Jason Elder

Stressed, SV group are not just FR members

Why are we not lobbying for binding arbitration from the FR group?

Who else in the SV group is essential?

Remove FR from SV group to be their own group

It was discussed that a review be done of the pay study from 1st pay study until now.

What can we do to fix the problem, can look at another venue such as change tables, sub-committee?

Item #4 – Bargaining

Review of Provincial Standards vs. Federal regulations

Get pay study interpretation

Brother Winger explained the PSAC bargaining process

The June round of negotiations saw no response to the pay study

Currently the pay rate being presented:  0.5%, 0.5%, 0.5%

Next meeting(s) would have taken place in October (dealing with common issues such as sick leave and WFA)

Option for a PIC, impasse not declared – there is an unspoken impasse, which has cancelled the October meeting.

Item # 7 IAFF for Wellness

Review of document and presentation by Brother Jason Elder

Moving forward to change current method, looking closely at the IAFF version

Brother Winger confirmed that he is working with Nicole to develop hybrid wellness package

Advantage of peer based fitness, not punitive

The program could potentially be done by PSP which would be peer driven, confidential.

Medical issues (Health Canada) would be at the Dr.’s discretion

Item #11 Commissionaires (CFFM)

There are huge issues with how regions are dispatching emergency calls.

In most cases, there is no direction – each region is dealing with this differently, no consistency.

Commissionaires are training to dispatch, not training to do 911 intake calls or understand the levels for emergency calls.

Concern for health and safety.


Day 2 – 21 September 2016


Brother Desbiens indicated that the CFFM and CFFM 2 were scheduled to come at 9:00 a.m.  He inquired as to whether all were against flash on station gear and if the group was on the same page.  It was indicated that no-one wants it on station wear gear.  CFFM wants everyone to have the same – for station wear and tunic – guys want to keep local flashes on their station gear.  The question was asked as to what the trucks will say?

CFFM – LCol L. Goodman

The CFFM provided a brief introduction of herself and indicated she has 23 years in the forces – Air Force and that she has worked more with the Army than the Air Force.  She has worked in CE rather than fire services.  Her strengths are on the military side of the house – dealt with FH throughout her career – how do projects impact what we do.  She then went on to talk briefly about the organization. CFFM 2-5 NFSO – to be staffed hopefully this Fall.  RPPA probably won’t be somebody with fire service background but health and safety background.  CFFM 4 – Projects – working with equipment including travelling to sites.


A/CFFM 2 – M. Gravel

–CFFM 2 also provided a brief introduction of himself and indicated he has been in the CFFM’s office 12 years and had spent 10 years in private sector.  He has a FR background – 15 years Part-time FR with City of Ottawa and has been Deputy CFFM for about a year and a half.

They then went on to talk about the following subjects:


-understand there is resistance to change – don’t want change – local badge – there is a single CFFM badge.  He indicated that the office allowed local badges in the past and that they had in fact reviewed some of them.  This was done without the understanding of what the rules and regulations were.  CRS – Chief Review Service Audit – the audit was not about uniform it was about how the office does business – what money was being spent on.  On the civilian side of the house they didn’t have process in place to spend public funds on uniform.  Authority to spend money lies at the DM level.  Need delegation of authority from the DM to CFFM and this delegation was done.  Authority to spend money on civilian uniform and who approves.  It was indicated that DHH – Directorate of History and Heritage – approval was sought and obtained and approval is sent to ADM Mat.  He indicated that prior purchases were against policy.  DHH has strict policy on who can have what – flags, trying to get a national flag – many Chiefs are asking – got some without DHH approval and DHH will not permit it.  Only designated units allowed flags. CFFM comes under Military Engineer Unit – they have a flag and therefore it is difficult to spend public money.

They went on to explain that the CFFM is not recognized as a unit – DDH has approval for one national badge – there is a need to be recognized as fire authority and DDH will not allow individual locations to have their own badge – can have some small indications, i.e., CFB Esquimalt above or below as supplementary as long as badge is not altered in any way.  CFOO – Canadian Forces Organizational Order – CFFM delegated by DM as authority for civilian uniforms.  When this was revealed in 2014 the then CFFM sent a communique to FCs indicating local procurement of uniforms and badges will cease – things did not change however.

This was discussed with the FCs at the FC symposium last year and they were informed that this would start to be audited.  Large majority on board but not all.  New badge ADM Mat will start to appear this Fall.  Will be produced by Logistiks in next few months.  Communique will go out again – no actual deadline – are awaiting production of new badge.  From DHH it is an identity issue and there is no opening for having local badge on one side and national badge on the other side.

As far as scroll or base identifier, it needs to be put in ADM Mat system, the same with name tags.  Design would be consistent and incorporated into system.  Decision in line with policy/directive.  Local badges, create own T Shirts, Jackets, Baseball caps, working in fire halls that is OK – when you step outside, you’re representing National Fire Service and it has to be the official badge.  When asked if there would be a penalty imposed the reply was that they didn’t know.  There is the risk of contravening the FAA (Financial Administration Act) and using public funds and the consequence to the CFFM as she is the delegated authority.

It was stated that a T Shirt was needed under the station gear.  Asked if there was any way to create one and the answer was no.  If someone passes on the job, would have to use the Engineering flag (not the fire service flag).

In regards to the Honour Guard uniform, some locations have gone ahead and purchased their own which is contrary to policy.  When asked who designed the new badge it was stated that someone in the CFFM’s office did.  It was stated by the group that there was not a lot of consultation with folks in the field.  It was noted that that was a mistake.  It was then noted that they were trying to get proper PPE for wild land FRs and that it will take priority.

Clothing – the Uniform Itself

It was indicated that the uniforms were designed years ago.  Logistiks not providing Logistiks uniform – they don’t fabricate it – they get it from supplier – they provide us the design – designed by DND – submitted to ADM Mat – textiles, buttons, station ware uniform meets NFPA standard for FR rating.  There are two standards:  NFPA – FR station wear; NFPAS – non-FR station wear.  As long as we meet these standards, we are good to go for structure firefighting.  We went with fire resistant fabric – heat protection, etc., why we went that way may be ARFF – we have structure bunker gear – stick with design we have – not most comfortable, durable.  The design we a stuck with – C3 contract will be renewed – working hard on modernizing the uniform.  Are we going to maintain fire resistant fabric or open it up to non-fire resistant – it is expensive under Logistiks because we have our own design – expensive due to fire resistant fabric- think we are the only one with specific design – would like to see uniforms off the shelf – cheaper because off the shelf stuff – our design – expensive and takes time – C3 contract – all uniforms – military/navy, etc., all uniforms – we are tiny – tiny piece of the whole

UCR – Unacceptable Condition Report – Capt Anca communicated to field – ADM Mat way to document when PPE is substandard – they will check to see how many UCRs are in the system – they will see none – need to start submitting UCRs – completed on line – no time limit on submitting UCRs – very little response – don’t hear from same bases – what they need.  Submit UCR on ADM Mat site or

e-mail Capt. Anca.

Procurement Outside – C-3 contract is Public Works contract for Government of Canada – financial authority implications – Financial Administration Action (FAA) – governs now public funds are to be expended.  Procurement Admin Manual (PAM) – how DND spends their funds in PAM – are several standing offers – things with standing offers must be used by PAM – can’t go against FAA – that is a big no-no.  Can’t spend any public funds outside of Logistiks or uniforms.  With C-3 there is provision for custom fits.  Boots are within the system – option of getting Doctor’s note which would allow one to buy their own boots and get reimbursement.  The question was asked in regards to PT gear – response – CRS audit – #1 – required for identity and #2 – PPE – T Shirts, PT stuff not required for identify or health and safety – would have to be local canteen thing – no public funds – go through Logistiks for boots or get Doctor’s note – uniform geared to NFPA standards.  NFPA standard on what is to be worn under bunker gear – if wore shorts with right material (right composition) it could be worn under bunker gear if meets right material composition – getting gear for ARFF – no – will there be follow-up with our Chiefs – FMD – should be wearing station wear under bunker gear

Procurement  – who orders?  The way it was set-up with Logistiks is that everyone has an account – if you are getting a uniform – you have an account – it will ask for credit card – only accounts tied to system FDR accounts – funded by central funds – point system – assigned points based on entitlements – if you have the points you can go ahead and order.  If FC denies item you’re entitled to then that’s a problem.  Refer to scale of issue or C-3 contract – will let Serge know – 2 different jackets:  bomber/parka would like to remove this and replace with 3 in 1 jacket.  It was indicated epaulets – slip-ons – were available in Logistik

(Secretarial Note:  M. Gravel indicated in a follow-up e-mail that “all firefighters should see the entitlement numbers on their respective Logistik account.”  He went on to indicate that “to further assist with communicating the entitlement numbers, we will re-introduce (as an Annex) in FMD 1000 a table that lists all uniform items along with the entitled number for each rank.”)

The question was asked as to whether or not medals could be worn on the uniform and the answer was yes.  They also suggested that ribbons could also be worn but it would be a no to everything else.

(Secretarial Note:  the following link to the Governor General’s website for information was provided by the CFFM: for the Fire Service Exemplary Service Medal)

The discussion then moved on to Commissionaires and the comment was made that it is not working.  The CFFM’s office indicated that they have compliance reviews where they evaluate what is done in alarm rooms.  The question was asked as to whether or not this was a local issue (other than compliance issues)?  It was stated that the office of the CFFM is working on centralization of dispatch and that they didn’t have a whole lot of influence on Commissionaires.  They also indicated that there was no discussion to use FR positions to offset the costs of centralized dispatch issue – they thought the positions would be utilized elsewhere.

It was further indicated that MPs were running the initiative for central dispatch.  They hired a company to do study/research – they came back with a number of options and there have not been any decisions made in regards to the options.  It was reiterated that MPs are running the project and that the CFFM’s office had someone in their office there (Luc Page) but again no decisions have been made.

It was stated that as long as there is a standard for training folks in central dispatch should be properly trained.  It was affirmed that there is a national organization – central dispatch system which has and will have professional/certified dispatchers.

The issue of injured members returning to work on a gradual basis through RTW often get assigned to the alarm rooms in order to accommodate their return to work until medically cleared for operational duty.  A concern over losing these opportunities due to a central dispatch system was expressed and noted by the CFFM’s office and assured the concern would be relayed to their representative on the project.

This concluded the portion with the CFFM and CFFM 2.

Item #2 – Wording for Contract for 24 hour shift provisions

-it was suggested that for the next round of bargaining that bargaining demands be prepared and presented to get language for 24 hour shifts into the CA

Item #6 – Fire Extinguishers

-it was stated that reservists are doing maintenance on fire extinguishers – could be an unfair labour practice complaint under s. 107 – this needs to be challenged

#7 – IAFF for Wellness

-Halifax/Esquimalt has joined – great resource – they do not provide negotiations – government doesn’t negotiate with them – it was stated that if you want to join them and give them your dollars then OK but they do not provide representational services – they are a good lobbying group

Item #8 – IAFF

– $163.00 per person per year – minimum of 5 people to affiliate

Item #9 – Health and Safety Concerns in each Fire Hall

663 General Safety Hazardous Occurrence Report -unsafe Health and Safety complaints – if in hall that is not up to health and safety standards, file Health and Safety Report

(Note:  If you search DAOD 2007-1, General Safety Program, in the reference section it mentions the 663 form – I am unable to access it directly as we are external to DND)

#13 – Roundtable

A discussion around bargaining ensued.  The Team has prioritized their demands in anticipation of going to a PIC.  At a PIC both sides present their arguments and the PIC (a Tribunal) makes non-binding recommendations.

The following is an explanation of the Pension accrual rate:

Pension accrual rate (2.33) – only applies to emergency service workers

2.33% x 30 years = 70%

2.0%   x 35 years  = 70%

25 and out x 2.33 = 58.25%

25 and out can go with no penalty… this is our proposal

Currently Age 60 with 30 years = out with no penalty (for those hired after January 1, 2013)

For those 60-65 (depending on province) may not be entitled to WC benefits

-it was asked if the group was supportive of what was proposed and written up

Brother Peterson made a motion to support the proposal – it was seconded by Brother Desbiens and passed with unanimous support

-the question of contamination after a fire was raised and Brother Winger requested some paperwork on procedures be provided in order that it can be addressed with the CFFM

(Note:  please provide the paperwork on procedures to Brother Winger)

Brother Peterson indicated that at the President’s Conference he had recommended a face book page – he is currently in process of setting it up

It was stated that the group take up Brother MacLennan’s offer to undertake political action on retirement, presumptive cancers, etc.

Brother Desbiens thanked the group for coming and their parti