Women and minorities navigate a more challenging fire service organizational landscape. As a matter of equity, inclusion and equality, this toolkit aims to provide the framework in order to influence a positive fire service culture change.
According to the 2016 Canadian Census, women represented just over five percent of all firefighters and just under seven percent of senior firefighting leadership in Ontario in 2015. This needs to change – we must work towards more diversity and inclusion in the fire service. Together, we can help increase this number by removing barriers embedded in current practices, culture and initiatives in the workplace that women face in the fire service.
This Including Women in the Fire Service toolkit will help fire departments in Ontario identify and address barriers that prevent women from becoming firefighters and advancing in the fire service. It offers tools to fire leadership teams to help build equitable and inclusive practices in leadership, recruitment, hiring, retention and career advancement for women in the fire service.
One of my roles as a fire service leader is to create a stronger voice for the marginalized groups in the fire service, reduce negative stigma and evolve the fire service industry in a positive way. I am proud of the progress the fire service has already made, but there is more work to be done. Creating a diverse and inclusive culture in the fire service where women feel welcomed will strengthen the workplace community.
As leaders, we must commit to actions that make sustainable progress and create opportunities for all firefighters to reach their full potential. Through this toolkit, we can all work together to make a better workplace for all firefighters regardless of gender.
Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management
City of Mississauga