Firefighting is More Than a Spectator Sport: Navigating and Advocating For a Safe, Diverse and Inclusive Fire Service

  • October 27, 2023
  • 12:30pm-2:30pm

Facilitated by Karen Simpson(Moderator), Rebecca Moran, Sofie Lasiuk, Darcie Sibbald

Join our leading panel of experts who will share their insight, expertise and experiences in learning how to successfully navigate and advocate for a safe, diverse and inclusive work space that eliminates inequity and harassment in the fire service.     

This panel will include an overview of a developing grassroots program that FSWO has initiated alongside Fire Service Women British Columbia. It aims to provide education and training to help understand how to better support organizational and cultural shifts towards a more welcoming , healthy, safe and respectful workplace spaces in the fire service. It includes improving awareness as to the many forms of bullying, harassment, and even violence, that has been known to occur in the fire service.

Moderator Karen Simpson

Karen Simpson is a lawyer at Lerners LLP in London. Karen’s practice is primarily focused on plaintiff personal injury. She is particularly interested in educating first responders about the importance of being properly insured , third party claims that may arise in the course of employment and WSIB eligibility. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Karen served the citizens of Chatham-Kent for 10 years as a career firefighter. While in the fire service, Karen sat on the Board of Directors for iWomen (now Women in Fire) and FSWO for seven and six years respectively. Karen is former winner of FSWO's President's Trailblazer Award.

Rebecca(Becky) Moran

Sergeant Rebecca Moran is a former Toronto paramedic who became a police officer for the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) in 2011. In 2019, Sergeant Moran recognized the need for a 2S&LGBTQIA liaison officer for the queer community and helped create, develop and implement the role, a first ever for the HPS. Sergeant Moran has worked in uniform patrol, criminal investigative branch, community mobilization branch and is one of only two hate crime investigators for her police service. In addition to her liaison and hate crime duties, Sergeant Moran is also a crisis and hostage negotiator, coordinator of the Police Liaison Team (PLT), a member of the provincial Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team (HCEIT) and is the co-chair for the Hamilton Police 2S&LGBTQIA Internal Support Network. Sergeant Moran is a regular presenter at the Ontario Police College and Humber College.

Sofie Lasiuk

Sofie Lasiuk is an Acting Platoon Chief in the Operations Division of Toronto Fire Services. She began her fire service career with the Etobicoke Fire Dept. in 1990 and is a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, having served as a ship's diver. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University's Fire Service Administration and Leadership programs, with a specialty in Strategic Planning.
Sofie is dedicated to improving Diversity and Inclusivity within the fire service. Sofie is Toronto Fire Service’s first known transgender firefighter and became the first to go public with her true identity several years into her career. She is the co-chair of Toronto Fire's Positive Space Committee where, as part of a team, she provides support and mentorship to the fire services' 2SLGBTQ+ members. Sofie has served on many panels and committees, applying her experience and education to a variety of topics, including apparatus design, operational deployment reviews and recruitment of staff who reflect the diversity and multiculturalism of Canada. She has assisted with developing a new fire station design that incorporates the high level of privacy and accommodation needed to support a modern, resilient fire service. Sofie is a new FSWO Board Director and was last year's winner of the FSWO President's Trailblazer Award. Off-duty, Sofie is a keen world traveller and amateur historian. She lives in Toronto, with her wife of more than 30 years.

Darcie Sibbald

Darcie is a mother of two girls, an avid mountain biker and a career firefighter of 18 years with an additional five years as a Paid on Call firefighter. Darcie has sat on many committees during her career, from Health and Safety, First Responder Instructor Trainer and currently the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Peer and CISM team. She was the Secretary/Treasurer for her local since 2012 and this year was elected as the President.

Darcie participates in the BCPFFA Data/IT, sub-committee of the Women’s Advisory Committee and the Elections Committee. Her passion lies in advocacy for all, supporting others in mental health, safety, governance, worker OH&S representation, peer mentorship, collaborating, bargaining negotiations and grievance resolutions. In her career as a firefighter, Darcie was looking to share experiences and find the support of other women in this incredible career. In doing so, she is the Secretary on the founding board of Fire Service Women BC. She is proud to work amidst powerful, capable, competent and passionate women and men who want to support an equitable fire service for all.