2023 Trailblazer Award Winner Cassandra Greer makes history in unionized fire workplace

Assistant Division Chief Cassandra Greer has dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to women and men within her union. She is a fierce labour advocate and has worked to bridge the gap between labour rights and women’s rights in our male-dominated profession.

Assistant Division Chief Cassandra Greer accepts the President's Trailblazer Award from Pike Krpan and Tracey Shields.

Assistant Division Chief Cassandra Greer accepts the President's Trailblazer Award from Pike Krpan and Tracey Shields.

Cassandra Greer notably made history as the first woman elected to the Ottawa Professional Firefighters executive board, a rare achievement in Ontario at the time. She brings her years of experience and advocacy to support and lift up other women in the fire service. When her opinion was sought by a new member at a committee meeting, her humble response was unexpected. She said “Who am I? I’m just a lumpy farm girl." This was her way of saying, “I’m the same as you. My years of experience don’t make my opinions any more important than yours.” She is exactly who you want in your corner advocating for you.

Cassandra Greer currently serves as the Chair of the Ottawa Professional Firefighters’ Association’s Human Rights and Accommodations Committee. She has fearlessly challenged the entrenched views of her union’s old guard, who were slow to welcome women in the fire service. Her outspoken bravery resulted in her union adopting gender-neutral terminology. Cassandra championed the introduction of land acknowledgements at OPFFA events, a practice gaining momentum among firefighter associations and departments. Her greatest gift to her colleagues is her unwavering commitment to speaking truth to power, advocating for those who feel voiceless, including the most vulnerable members of her service.

In her nomination letter, one of her peers emphasized the importance of educating all members to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. Cassandra constantly goes above and beyond to educate, engaging both new recruits and retirees. She has shared her insights with new shop stewards at OPFFA's education seminar and at FSWO symposiums, focusing on the topic of pregnancy in the fire service.

Beyond her remarkable contributions in the fire service, Cassandra embodies the goodwill and spirit of firefighters by actively participating in fundraising activities and community event planning. Her involvement includes organizing annual sports events for her local, supporting cancer programs and hospitals, and proudly participating in the Pride Day Parade.

Her collaborative nature shines as she tirelessly works behind the scenes, networking with women and professionals in the fire service to drive positive change. Cassandra never seeks recognition; she simply gets the job done. All of this, much of it unpaid, while managing a farm and raising two children, is a shining example of women's leadership and their capacity to enact positive, inclusive change within unions and fire services.

FSWO is honored to present Cassandra Greer with the President's Trailblazer Award.