September 9-10, 2019

Firefighter Committee Minutes

UNDE FR Steering Committee

September 9-10, 2019


Serge Desbiens-OPI, VP Ontario

Ryan Stewart-Nova Scotia

Mike Strong-New Brunswick

Steve Grandbois-Quebec

Jim Aubut-Ontario

Mike Mymko-Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Jason Elder-Alberta

Josh Peterson-British Columbia

Day 1

Introductions, Harassment Statement and agenda read by Serge Desbiens. Agenda will be fluid to accommodate guests and visitors.

Binding arbitration vs Strike Conciliation

Majority of municipal fire halls within Canada have binding arbitration as their default bargaining impasse route which has brought major gains for all IAFF locals. It is noted that municipality cannot use the “ability to pay” argument when at labour boards as they have the ability to raise taxes. Our federal government when bargaining must take into account the current Canadian economy which gives them the ability to argue ability to pay.

The current issue with binding arbitration at the SV table is 80% of the table needs to be deemed essential for binding arbitration to be the automatic route and we are nowhere near that number. Moving forward there is agreement to develop a road map then lobby UNDE and PSAC to find a solution to our bargaining issues.

Discussion around the upcoming PIC (Public Interest Commission), will be meeting on January 22-24 2019. The report, through legislation, must be released within 30 days of the commission meeting. PIC recommendations are non-binding. The PIC will include discussion around the pay study that includes fire fighters wage gap.



June Winger UNDE National President

Sister Winger came in and spoke to us about current issues within the FR community. It was brought to the committee’s attention, as well as Sister Winger’s, that the PSPAC will be meeting September 16, 2019 and the FR pension file is not on the agenda for the meeting. It is the responsibility of our PSPAC members, PSAC National President Chris Aylward and PSAC National Vice President Magali Piccard, to add agenda items.

-President Winger requested Chris to attend Tuesday afternoon to discuss our pension and explain why it is not on the agenda.

Public Interest Commission

Darren Pacione, PSAC research officer SV Bargaining team

Darren gave a brief overview of the PIC data and what rules they will follow. There was discussion around the demand to remove the FR recruitment rate (being removed) from the contract, Darren was given examples of how it is being abused by some departments to save money. Darren asked the committee for examples of FR00 hiring, retention issues, current wage data, and stories of struggles members may have due to the lower compensation. Darren explained that the government states that we are adequately compensated but they provide no data to back up the statement. The committee is to work on providing Darren further  information as soon as possible as the PIC information must go to translation before the January meeting.

Under the Public Labour Relations Act the PIC can look at 5 factors and they are the following;

175 In the conduct of its proceedings and in making a report to the Chairperson, the public interest commission must take into account the following factors, in addition to any other factors that it considers relevant:

  • (a)the necessity of attracting competent persons to, and retaining them in, the public service in order to meet the needs of Canadians;
  • (b)the necessity of offering compensation and other terms and conditions of employment in the public service that are comparable to those of employees in similar occupations in the private and public sectors, including any geographic, industrial or other variations that the public interest commission considers relevant;
  • (c)the need to maintain appropriate relationships with respect to compensation and other terms and conditions of employment as between different classification levels within an occupation and as between occupations in the public service;
  • (d)the need to establish compensation and other terms and conditions of employment that are fair and reasonable in relation to the qualifications required, the work performed, the responsibility assumed and the nature of the services rendered; and
  • (e)the state of the Canadian economy and the Government of Canada’s fiscal circumstances.


Clothing Update

Brother Elder provided samples of clothing that meets the NFPA 1977 and 1975 requirements. The current clothing does not meet the standards. The only provider that we found that can currently cover all station wear and wild land clothing is the Workrite brand. Although the pricing on compliant clothing has a higher cost per unit, it is widely known that it last far longer, has superior stitching, does not suffer from colour fade and looks much more professional than our current clothing.(Clothing is discussed further on the second day with a presentation to the CFFM).

Next round of bargaining and Bargaining Demands

Bargaining demands are created and approved at the local level, sent to the UNDE bargaining conference where they are discussed and voted on, then “dotmocracy”-where all demands that are approved by convention are voting to decide priority by placing “dots” on the demand you want to get through to the next level of bargaining at the SV table.

This process is difficult for the FR group to make gains as Appendix A demands must be approved by all SV members. When locals send common demands to bargaining convention demands that are similar are all voted on which waters down the demands. It is suggested that the FR group create common demands and have them used by all locals when submitting demands to ensure that we are united in trying to get common demands through to bargaining. This will be discussed by the committee when the next round of bargaining gets closer.


Day 2

CFFM2 Pat Bouffard and Major Dave Jane

GUEST-Blair Winger and LRO Brenda Lee Blaney

*CFFM Lee Goodman is unavailable for meeting and Paul Martel was unable to attend due to illness.

CFFM office is responsible for establishing standards on equipment and clothing, creating policies, training at CFB Borden, and the respiratory program which includes the FR wellness committee.

Funding has been approved through the wellness committee, funded by ADM IE, to install diesel exhaust system filters on all apparatus. These systems will be in conjunction with the extraction system currently installed at most fire halls. The funding for these filter systems will be balanced with supplying a second set of bunker gear as this funding has been approved as part of the Carcinogen Reduction program. The funds for this fiscal have been set at $2.5 million. New apparatus will come with the filter system and will not require the system installation. “Ward Diesel” will be the most likely company to win the contract. It is noted that there are halls that do not have extraction systems and see no solution in the near future.

Concerns raised in regards to the CFFM audits. Some halls have deficiencies that show in repeated audits. The CFFM, Major Dave Jane in particular, does not hold fire chiefs accountable for building maintenance as it falls under the ADM IE approval. Issues for building maintenance should follow proper chain of labour management consultation and, if not resolved, forwarded to the national ADM IE LMCC. Brother Mark Miller is the co-chair on this committee.  Members should go through the FR steering Committee or National Office to raise issues at this level. Major Jane stated that RPOP’s can approve up to $10 million in projects. That does not mean they can approve funding but can approve projects. This is promising for halls looking for infrastructure improvements.

Major Dave Jane is the CFFM representative for the Navy.

The issue of paper work when it comes to the new G1 packs was raised. Members expressed concerns with extensive daily checklists that may lead to pencil whipping. Major Jane asked the Steering Committee members to come up with a local solution to help alleviate paperwork. This can be a digital solution. What is reasonable for BA checks, daily, weekly, and monthly?

Training issues are recognized by the CFFM. Having Officer 1, 2 and eventually a level 3 is something that the CFFM sees as a path to better trained managers. Fire officer 3 is a manager level course and could help alleviate some current issues many locals see today.

The CFFM office issues the Fire Protection Program under the authority of the Deputy General of Infrastructure of Engineering. The FPP is the governing document for fire departments. It can be found on the CFFM share point located on the DWAN. The share point on the CFFM website provides a lot of information that is helpful to locals.

ADM MAT (responsible for operational clothing)

Sheila Furlong, sitting in for Lorianne Hawdur(team lead)

Capt. Jerod Heron (Mark Plourde’s assistant)

Paul Martel (away sick, was supposed to bring samples of clothing)

New operational clothing contract will be awarded by spring. (Logistic Unicorp may no longer have the contract). This may affect any new clothing we receive.

The CFFM had looked at 3 samples that Logistics had provided as COT (commercially available off the shelf) product. Blauer, Lion and 5-11. Wild land product sample was True North.  5-11 did not meet the NFPA 1975 7.1 basic requirements and was removed from consideration. As Paul Martel was away sick, we were unable to see any samples.

Brother Elder came prepared with a clothing presentation of 1975 7.1 (basic requirement) and 7.2 (optional flame resistive) compliant product. Major departments such as Calgary Fire and Toronto Fire already use this product. Major Dave Jane and CFFM2 were visibly impressed by the clothing presented as was the whole committee. Major Jane stated- we should get this right now as we don’t want to be complaining for the next two decades about clothing we didn’t want. The CFFM office and Brother Elder will work together to secure a line of clothing that we can be proud to wear.*Major Jane asked Brother Elder what if any changes we should make on the FMD (Fire Marshall Directive). Brother Elder stated that Chapter 7.2 of NFPA 1975 should be added to include flame resistive.

Bunker Gear

Bunker gear is coming to the end of its 10 year life span. New gear is being looked at and we are assured we will be consulted. Paul Martel is the OPI for new gear. New gear will start showing up as early as spring of 2020. Major Jane stated that Paul Martel had looked at a design where we would receive 2 outer layers and 1 inner layer of gear. He asked what if we had any thoughts on that kind of system for gear. There were negative comments on going with this type of design and it was made clear we would not support this type of bunker gear.

R2MR Volunteers

The Wellness committee is looking for family volunteers for the next stage of R2MR carcinogen reduction. This would include videos.

Wildland Fire Gear

Departments (Suffield and Dundurn) that respond to wild land fires have been using filters that attach to the G1 masks. This is an option to using goggles and filtration masks. Departments that have a high call volume of wild land fires are supplying 2 G1 masks to members, one for wild land and one for structural. Contact your regional rep for more information.

AFFF-Environmental Problem

The CFFM has rehabilitated the diesel area at Borden training center and now is rehabilitating the AFFF site. We can expect to see a lot of concrete replacing the current area in the future. There will be an Airplane simulator that uses propane.


There is a new national data base that will be coming on line by the end of March to replace the current training record system. This will enable national tracking of training. The CFFM office will have the ability to view training records. The CFFM2 stated that Platoon and Deputy Platoon Chiefs will have access to this program on shift.

END OF MEETING WITH CFFM2 AND MAJOR JANE –Brenda Lee Blaney left at this time

Pension Discussion

Guests-PSAC National President Chris Aylward, James Infantino (PSAC PSPAC Staff Rep), UNDE National President June Winger and Blair Winger

This meeting with PSAC National President Chris Aylward was to discuss the issue that arose in regards to the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee meeting being held September 16, 2019. It became known to the committee that the fire fighter equitable retirement was not on the agenda for the meeting. President Winger requested President Aylward attend to provide an explanation as the two PSAC PSPAC representatives that can add agenda items are Brother Aylward and Sister Magali Picard. James Infantino (Senior Research officer PSAC) was in attendance to provide perspective on the PSPAC. James has served on the PSPAC as staff for over 20 years.

James stated that the PSPAC recommends to the Treasury Board President any pension improvements that they can agree on changing. James also stated that the committee has “never” agreed on an issue to forward. Meetings are infrequent and cancelled often. The Treasury Board President has the authority under the PSSAA (Public Service Super Annuation Act) to direct the PSPAC and send items to cabinet for approval. The committee and President Winger were upset about these statements. President Winger expressed concerns about the results from the most successful social media campaign PSAC has had to date. For all our efforts we have seen minimal results. PSAC has dropped the ball on the PSPAC. We have relied on PSAC for direction on lobbying and some of the information that James Infantino provided today was new to the committee.

Going forward for our Pension issues, the committee agrees that we need to lobby cabinet ministers and gain another meeting with the Treasury Board President after the federal election. UNDE and PSAC support this initiative with a supporting business case. James Infantino suggested that we use a media program such as Microsoft Teams to keep documents and update the committee.

The committee has scheduled a conference call for October 21, 2019 @ 12pm east.

The committee would also like to recognize Brother Serge Desbiens. This was Serge’s last meeting. Serge has been a member of this committee for many years serving as a member and OPI. Serge will be missed by all members.


Meeting Adjourned