The Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes an individual, group or organization that demonstrates leadership and a commitment to finding innovative and effective ways to support the mandate of FSWO by reaching both within and out side of the fire service community. The award is given to a recipient who clearly demonstrates how they promote and participate in initiatives that foster a culture of respect, equity, inclusion and diversity in the fire service.
Adina Kaufman and Julie Petruzzellis were instrumental in the development of the Pregnancy and Family Resource Guide for the Toronto Professional Firefighters’ Association. The guide acknowledges the diversity of gender and family situations and educates members about their rights. The guide is the cutting edge of pregnancy/parental resources in the fire service. These two use their membership on their local and provincial union association to further educate their peers on issues of concern women, members of racialized and LGBTQ+ communities.
Both are members of the Toronto Fire Inclusion Plan Working Group. They are working on a diversity and inclusion education curriculum to be used in future by all divisions of Toronto Fire and will function as the flagship outreach program.
At the community level, Julie and Adina are the hearts and minds of the Where There is Smoke project. Many of the women who participated in the project said the process was very meaningful, making them feel more included in the fire service. While sharing with other women firefighters, one participant realized that how she was feeling must be how her male colleagues felt every shift as they sat around the kitchen table.
Both firefighters are tireless in their advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the fire service and it is FSWO’s great honour to present this award to Adina Kaufman and Julie Petruzzellis of Toronto Fire.