Response to firefighters

My responses to the questions from

Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association

IAFF Local 162

Community & Firefighter Safety
1. Community and firefighter safety are key priorities for our Association. What can we expect from your party with regards to programs and initiatives that improve safety in these areas?

I have the upmost respect and gratitude for firefighters. And since firefighters are the experts on the subject, I vow to work with them to develop programs and initiatives that they think will best improve safety, and I’ll fit for the funding to make it all happen.

Presumptive Cancer
2. Ontario’s presumptive cancer coverage for firefighters recognizes 17 cancers; however, it lags that of Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon which recognize 19 cancers. Does your party commit to expanding Ontario’s presumptive coverage for firefighters to include thyroid and pancreatic cancer?

I absolutely commit to this. Pancreatic cancer has recently affected my family, so I know firsthand the challenges it presents, and I would want to cover firefighters for this and whatever other cancers and diseases require coverage. Firefighters put their lives on the life for our communities, and we need to give back to them any way we can.

Simultaneous Notification
3. Automated links between Provincial Central Ambulance Communication Centres (CACC) and Municipal Fire Dispatch Centres allow for real-time bi-directional sharing of information, remove human
delays, and automatically notify the second agency of life-threatening medical emergencies. This system of simultaneous notification is in place in several early adopter sites (Barrie, Guelph,
Kitchener/Cambridge, Mississauga, and Brampton) and has been shown to improve response times.
Unfortunately, automated links are not currently in place between the Ottawa CACC and Ottawa Fire
Service (OFS) Dispatch. Is your party committed to implementing simultaneous notification across the
province, including the City of Ottawa?

Anything that improves response times when it comes to saving lives should be done! This sounds like a great system, and it’s already shown to be working. So it would be a tragedy if we didn’t implement it across Ontario, including in Ottawa, as quickly as possible. What could be more important? Let’s get this done! I’ll work with the firefighter and ambulance community to do whatever it takes to make this improvement in our life-saving services.

Free & Fair Collective Bargaining
4. The right of workers to bargain collectively is protected as an exercise of freedom of association
under s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Free and fair collective bargaining is
vital to ensuring employers and trade unions can establish fair wages and working conditions.
Legislation that mandates a particular compensation outcome is unfair and interferes with the collective
bargaining process. Will your party commit to repealing Bill 124 and to not introducing (nor voting in
favour of) similar wage constraint legislation?

Yes, I agree that it doesn’t sound fair or smart to arbitrarily mandate a particular compensation outcome. I’ll commit to ensuring free and fair collective bargaining.

Having an Open Door
5. Meeting with elected officials is important to our Association because it gives us an opportunity to
brief decision makers on issues that are important to professional firefighters as well as our community.
If elected, will you schedule time to meet with our Association on a regular basis?

Absolutely, I’ll schedule time to meet with your Association on a regular basis. It will be a pleasure and honour to learn about the issues from your perspective and to help firefighters have everything they need to best serve Ontarians. I invite you and any interested residents to reach out to me to discuss any issues. Also, I host a podcast and YouTube show called Spark The Genius, and I’d love to chat with you and anyone about these issues on my show to help get the messages out to the public. You can email

Published by

Josh Rachlis

Award-winning copywriter, actor, comedian, songwriter, cartoonist.

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