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?
Brandon Bay, Candidate for Mayor
Nour Kadri, Candidate for Mayor
Council should not make certain decisions without simultaneously hearing from and asking questions to Labour and staff. This Mayor will create a minimum of 12 Advisory Boards for the Mayor’s Office. Everyone has blind spots, at least once a month, a Mayor should meet with people other than City management. One of those advisory boards will be labour.
Graham MacDonald, Candidate for Mayor
yes, OFS must keep pace with the city's growth and intensification. It's paramount for the Mayor and Community to support enhancements to OFS deployment model and align with industry standards, anything less would be considered sub-par service quality and risks public safety. In addition, when a new station is required it should be prioritized at the top of the lists of projects required for public safety. If these stations are covered by Volunteers and the time comes that it must be converted then absolutely it should be done with the same prioritizing in mind as a new station.
Mike Maguire, Candidate for Mayor
Yes to keeping pace with City Growth and yes to enhancements to the deployment model. My answer to the suggested solutions is, I'd follow the guidance from exoerts as to the best way to address these concerns. I do see value in the development triggers and, at some point, it surely makes sense to convert fire stations to career/composite.
Ade Olumide, Candidate for Mayor
Yes, I 100% agree with “OFS must keep pace with the city’s growth and intensification .. enhancements to its deployment model to improve performance, increase public safety, and align with industry standards (NFPA 1710)”, however I need to hear staff recommendations on how to achieve that, as well as the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats for each potential solution.
Param Singh, Candidate for Mayor
Like previously mentioned, I believe that the city must keep up with growth by ensuring that all emergency services follow suit. This will come at a cost, however when it comes to safety and the lives of people, cost should not be an issue. As for the industry standards, I believe that we should be following this in order to improve performance and increase public safety. I must add that this must be done within the means of the city’s budget and capacity.
Rosemee Cantave, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 1 Orléans East-Cumberland
Intensification comes with its repercussion. It is important to keep public safety as a priority which explain the reason why I align with OFS and would support enhancements to its deployment model.
Tessa Franklin, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 1 (Orléans East-Cumberland)
Yes. We have hefty intensification targets in front of us and we can reach these targets but must prioritize the safety of residents and the environment in the process. Additionally, we must ensure we engage in good faith with labour in the city and prioritize worker’s rights. Firefighters are essential people in our community who do a lot of good, they deserve fair pay and good working conditions.
Taayo Simmonds, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 3 Barrhaven West
Christine Moulaison, Candidate Councillor - Ward 4 Kanata North
We absolutely have to keep up with growth of our city. This only ensures the further safety of the public and OFS staff. We can not be two steps behind at the risk of our residents and brave firefighters.
Stephanie Maghnam, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 5 West Carleton-March
Greg Patacairk, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 5 West Carleton-March
Mathew Duchesne, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 6 Stittsville
I support growth and intensification where it makes sense for existing residents. It does not make sense to put our residents lives at risk because of bad planning and fire coverage. When the fire department asks to be heard and better funded in Stittsville, we need to listen and make it a priority. We need to act on this information - we need full time paid fire fighters at our largest firehouses that have access to the most equipment and are ready for action. We must ensure we have the correct equipment for the type of higher density we are building. It’s important to have wider streets and mandate longer driveways so we can get cars off the streets. Cope and some other developments in Fernbank are extremely unsafe and we’ve seen a house fire just last year where fire trucks could not access the house. They all got stuck in a chain as the house rapidly bunt and had to get rebuilt along with substantial damage to neighbours house, because it was on a pie lot , the fire had not spread , but had it been on a regular Mattamy street…
Tanya Hein, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 6 StittsvilleThis seems reasonable. I want to learn more about the specifics of development triggers and how they are applied.
Kevin Hua, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 6 Stittsville
Yes, ensuring that our fire protection services match with the growth, development, and intensification of our city and communities by increasing staffing, facilities, and resources in kind and as necessary is important to maintaining sufficient fire protection and community safety services for residents even as the city grows.
Robert Hill, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 7 Bay
I do, As the capital city in this great country we need to be the leader and create a new industry standard. We must ensure we have ample amounts of emergency services to protect and to serve our community, I think certain areas on the outskirts of the city are okay with a volunteer station but I would certainly be willing to review that more in depth with you to see where we can switch to fully staffed stations.
Theresa Kavanagh, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 7 Bay
I do believe that our emergency services need to be adequately resourced to keep up with the growing population and variety of housing forms the city will need to create in coming years. I am confident in Ottawa Fire Services to develop plans to ensure that the city maintains its high quality of service going forward.
Laine Johnson, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 8 CollegeThe City of Ottawa, as it grows, will offer both challenges and opportuntiies to service delivery. Challenges in that we will need to allocate funds across more individuals and communities, but opportunities in that we will have new revenues with which to fund those programs. In all areas of the City’s service delivery, we will need to adapt to a growing City and address the tension in the capacity of existing programs and services. I would welcome learning more about the OFS deployment model to better understand what enhancements will support both those professional and volunteer firefighters to address growth.
Sean Devine, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 9 Knoxdale-Merivale
Yes, absolutely. While I’m certainly an advocate or intensification over urban sprawl as a means of meeting our population growth projects, I’m also concerned that our supportive infrastructure and services are in place alongside that growth. This would certainly include an increase in protective services (i.e. OFS) for the specific reasons you cited above: densification will increase fire hazard. I’d be inclined to believe that the need for increased fire protection due to population growth is likely equal to or even greater than the need for increased police services.
Myles Egli, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 9 Knoxdale-Merivale
Michael Wood, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 9 Knoxdale-Merivale
We have to ensure that the population is protected and kept safe. I would be open to any discussion that involves that.
Taylor Houstoun, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 10 Gloucester-Southgate
I fully support this. We have fire services for a reason, a very good reason. If a city is neglecting key services when densifying it is a recipe for disaster. It may be financially unpalatable because to many it may seem mundane, but it is not, and critical services (like fire services) must be maintained consistently and at safe levels. I have no qualms with any of the proposed solutions – when it comes to safety we must do what we can.
Hicham Boutaleb, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
I believe all city services must be aligned with the growth of the city. Ottawa can’t keep expanding while the level of services remains the same or gets cut. Unfortunately most public services in Ottawa at the moment are absurdly overwhelmed and often understaffed. These issues have to be solved as our citizens deserve to be taken care of and our public servants deserve to have a safe and encouraging work environment.
Kim Leclerc, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
Increased needs, especially for fire services, are inevitable as the city expands. When new developments are launched with a short term vision, it often happens that elements that need to grow are not taken into account, such as fire services. This represents hidden and deferred costs that jeopardize the city's ability to meet future needs.
It is imperative that the city be in line with requirements and standards in order to properly protect its citizens. It also avoids hidden costs to citizens in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Stéphanie Plante, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
YES - but I also think we need to look to the building code - which I know is a provincial responsibility, but Council can advocate for stronger provisions that prevent and retard fire. This will be especially important as climate change will increase the frequency and severity of fire.
Laura Shantz, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
I agree that fire services need to keep pace with population growth and intensification, and that we need to open new stations or convert volunteer fire stations to career/composite stations to match our urban growth.Peter Karwacki, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 13 Rideau-Rockliffe
I think it is generally true that increase in population, and service area require increases in services levels that match the city’s growth and intensification.
What you have failed to identifiy in this question is that methods of fire fightly, new building codes and standards, the design of new neighborhoods and the quality of our streets also plays a factor in the overall requirements.
You would not need the same service level of a neighborhood of single family dwellings as say intensely populated and antiquated MURBS.
Still I agree in principle with your proposition and finding the sweet spot must include risk analysis. I have not seen the numbers but I am easily swayed by factual information: keep it coming.
Rawlson King, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 13 Rideau-Rockliffe
Stuart MacKay, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 14 Somerset
Yes, I agree that OFS must keep pace with the city’s growth and intensification, and I support enhancements to its deployment model. Of particular concern to me is the increase in high-rise buildings here in Somerset Ward, especially in the area of Preston Street. To ensure that we have the resources to deal with emergencies in existing and proposed high-rise buildings along Preston, Albert, and in the Downtown Core, I would support enhancements to the deployment model.
Brandon Russell, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 14 Somerset
I do! As our nation's capital I think we can go farther than the "industry standard" - if we want Ottawa to be Canada's voice to the world then I think it is time to put our money where our mouth is and innovate.
Ariel Troster, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 14 Somerset
Yes, though I oppose any further moves to extend the urban boundary in the future.
Riley Brockington, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 16 River
Yes. Enhancing the deployment model to improve performance, increase public safety, and align with industry standards should be a given. I support opening new stations where warranted and I want to learn more about the volunteer cohort and steps to trigger a volunteer station to career.
Alex Dugal, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 16 River
YES. We need our emergency services one step ahead of expansion. I believe the general public does not know the extent of volunteer fire coverage in the Ottawa area and that we shouldn't wait for something drastic to happen before we implement change.
Shawn Menard, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 17 Capital
Marty Carr, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 18 Alta-Vista
Yvette Ashiri, Candidate for Councillor - Ward 19 Orléans South-Navan
Yes- while city growth is important and vital, doing so responsibly should be at the top of the priority list. I have been fortunate to watch my community in Orleans South-Navan grow, but unfortunately it is not always happening responsibly. Our current city council only focuses on building expensive houses, not the emergency services needed or transportation to those neighbourhoods. I believe that OFS needs to keep pace with this growing city and I will support notions to allow them to do so.
Bob Masaro, Candidate for Councillor Ward 20 Osgoode
Patti Searl, Candidate for CouncillorWard 21 Rideau-Jock
I most certainly do. Part of my priorities will be working with emergency personnel committees and boards to ensure from a safety and security perspective residents receive the best and that the Rural Wards are not forgotten. They actually should be a priority for the size and distance posing serious concerns of accessibility and distance to hospitals, emergency services or ambulance responsiveness. I am also monitoring health hubs in other parts of the City and supportive of an approach that is encompassing health, emergency, police and paramedic within.
Kevin Setia, Candidate for Councillor Ward 21 Rideau-Jock
I would be keen to work towards service and response time goals and if it means we need enhance deployment to meet response time targets then it is an automatic yes!
Mike Dawson, Candidate for Councillor Ward 23 Kanata South
Rouba Fattal, Candidate for Councillor Ward 23 Kanata South
I absolutely support ways to improve performance, increase public safety, and align with industry standards. I would like to see more opportunities to convert volunteer firefighters into career firefighters, but I do believe that we find ways to support and attract volunteer firefighters as much as possible as a form of low cost service to the city. There are amazing volunteer firefighters out there who are dedicated to this form of volunteerism, so I think it’s important to recognize that.
Developers also need to be doing a better job of making sure there is adequate space between houses so that we are deterring the easy spread of house fires.
Patrick Brennan, Candidate for Councillor Ward 24 Barrhaven East
Richard Garrick, Candidate for Councillor Ward 24 Barrhaven East
Yes, I do agree OFS must keep pace with the city’s growth and needs. I would be open to supporting enhancements to its deployment model to improve performance and increase public safety. As a councillor, I would refer to experts, research and guidance before making any crucial decisions to best meet the needs of the community. I am a strong advocate for emergency services and those that serve. I want to make sure they have all resources needed to meet the needs of our community.
Wilson Lo, Candidate for Councillor Ward 24 Barrhaven East
City services cannot fall behind as the city continues growing, OFS is no different. Residents and firefighters need to be kept safe through adequate staffing levels, good response times, and effective training and skills upkeep. This includes converting the volunteer fire station in Stittsville into a regular station, given that community’s incredible growth over the last decade.