2022 Municipal Election — Questionnaire to Candidates


Dear Candidate,

Your decision to seek office in the October municipal election is to be commended. It indicates you are committed to your ward and the City of Ottawa. Public service is a noble calling and I wish you the best of luck on election day.

As the President of the Ottawa Professional Firefighters' Association (OPFFA), I would like to ask you a few questions on issues of importance to Ottawa's professional firefighters. Answering these questions will not take long and I encourage you to do so. This questionnaire is being sent to all candidates for Mayor and City Councillor. I plan to post the results on our government relations website on Saturday September 24, 2022 to inform our members and Ottawa residents. Responses from all candidates will be posted – unedited and without evaluation or commentary – at www.ottawafirefightersgr.ca.

I would appreciate it greatly if you would return the completed questionnaire to our office (info@ottawafirefighters.org) by Friday September 23, 2022. If a reply has not been received by that date, we will simply indicate that we did not receive a reply from you. I look forward to hearing from you.


Doug McLennan

OPFFA Candidate Questionnaire – 2022 Municipal Election

Question 1

In its 2019 Annual Report (September 8, 2020), Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) states “[as] part of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) accreditation process and as a commitment to the residents, OFS will be working throughout 2020 to develop a new 2021-2024 Strategic Plan”. This plan has not been released and it is critically important for a public safety organization tasked with being prepared to mitigate emergencies. In the CFAI Accreditation Report (July 8, 2019), the peer assessors recommend “the agency [OFS] continue to proactively plan for community consultation and engagement during 2019 and 2020 in developing the 2021-2024 strategic plan.”

Will you commit to supporting the timely development of the OFS 2021-24 Strategic Plan with input from community consultation and engagement?

Question 2

Since amalgamation in 2001 Ottawa has grown significantly. The population has increased from 774,072 to 1,017,449 and the number of private dwellings from 310,132 to 427,113. Last November, Council adopted a New Official Plan that includes expanding the city’s urban boundary by 1,350 to 1,650 hectares and intensifying neighbourhoods around transit hubs and along transit corridors with multi-unit housing (low, mid, and high-rise buildings). City growth and intensification drive the demand for emergency services and multi-unit housing is a higher hazard form of housing that presents greater potential for injury/loss of life and property loss. Fighting fires in these occupancies requires additional resources. Yet, despite the city’s growth and intensification the staffing level in Urban Operations has been trending downward.

Do you agree OFS must keep pace with the city’s growth and intensification and would you support enhancements to its deployment model to improve performance, increase public safety, and align with industry standards (NFPA 1710) such as increasing career staffing and (when established station development triggers occur) opening new fire stations and converting volunteer fire stations to career/composite stations?

Question 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 emergencies. This system of simultaneous notification is in place in several municipalities (Barrie, Guelph, Kitchener/Cambridge, Mississauga, and Brampton) and has been shown to improve response times. Automated links are not currently in place between the Ottawa CACC and OFS Dispatch. While these links would not alleviate the real issues facing our paramedic partners, they would benefit residents by ensuring they receive help as quickly as possible in their time of need. A simultaneous notification system uses the same dispatch criteria that is in place today, it simply improves the speed of the system.

Will you commit to supporting simultaneous notification in Council and to working with the Province to ensure it is implemented in Ottawa?

Question 4

There is value in fire department accreditation, however, improving the quality of the service requires dedicated work, investment, and alignment with industry standards. As part of the CFAI accreditation process, OFS establishes its own performance benchmarks using historical response data as a baseline. The industry standard for fire service resource requirements and response time objectives is National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 1710 “Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments”.

If elected, would you support OFS measuring and reporting its operational performance based on time interval targets set by NFPA 1710?

Question 5

IThe OFS CFAI 2019 Standards of Cover (SOC) document identifies four station development triggers: growth, response level, risk, and land use. In its 2020 Annual Report (October 12, 2021), OFS acknowledges these triggers have occurred, “The 2019 [CFAI] Standards of Cover (SOC) document, utilized for Ottawa Fire Services latest Accreditation, clearly illustrates intensification in several urban and rural communities at a rate that is growing beyond our current capacity to meet our minimum standards (ERF) and is now requiring more careful consideration…most pressing for Ottawa Fire Service is the community of Stittsville. Thoughtful consideration will be given to convert Fire Station 81 in Stittsville from a fully volunteer station to a composite station. A conversion to a composite station will enhance Ottawa Fire Services deployment model and resources in this community by ensuring that the station has a compliment of [career] firefighters in station ready to respond at all times.” The conversion of Station 81 from a volunteer station to a composite station is long overdue and the 2021-24 strategic planning process is the appropriate mechanism for OFS to explore options and propose the solutions required to improve service and contend with the city’s growth and intensification.

Will you commit to supporting the conversion of Station 81 from a volunteer fire station to a composite fire station that operates with career firefighters?

Question 6

If elected, how would you react when the majority of Council takes on a position that is not aligned with labour or professional firefighters?

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