Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association
Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association

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William T. Sanders Bursary
Feb 14, 2024

The OPFFA, in recognition of Brother William T. Sanders, grants up to four $500 bursaries per year to the child of a member who has died in the line of duty.

The forty-fourth Convention of the Provincial Federation of Ontario Professional Fire Fighters was held in Brockville, Ontario in June 1966.

At this gathering, the William T. Sanders Committee presented a report that recommended the setting up of the “William T. Sanders Memorial Education Fund.”

The purpose of this fund was twofold: to establish a bursary for children of members of the Association who have died in the line of duty and, to forever honour the name of William T. Sanders.  Brother Sanders was on the Executive Board of the Toronto Local 113 in 1948 and became the President of that local in 1955, retiring from the presidency in 1958.  During all of that time, his energies were devoted to enhancing the working conditions of his local and all professional firefighters in the Province of Ontario.

He was instrumental in setting up the Education Seminar program in 1958 and also in recruiting Dr. Eric G. Taylor to serve as discussion leader and teacher.  Brother Sanders took on the role of co-coordinator for the seminar program.  The concept of holding educational seminars continues to this present time.  It was said of William T. Sanders that he had a superior command of the English language and a former President of the Toronto local (Orval Bolton) said he was “the most dedicated representative that it was ever my fortune to work with.”

Brother Sanders was a force in the Toronto local negotiations in 1956 and a subsequent unanimous arbitration board that was handed down in 1957 that awarded the Toronto firefighters a 42-hour work week from a 56-hour work week.

This award resulted in the hiring of approximately 260 new firefighters, laid out the number of personnel to be assigned to each piece of apparatus, and necessitated many promotions.  This was a “landmark” decision affecting all professional firefighters in the Province of Ontario.  Incidentally, the chairman of the arbitration board was Dr. Eric G. Taylor.

William T. Sanders received a leave of absence to go overseas with the Canadian Army in 1940.  He returned to duty with the Toronto Fire Department in 1945.

Brother Sanders died on January 2, 1965, just 25 days short of his 52nd birthday.  It has been said of William “Bill” Sanders that he gave too much of his energies to firefighters and this undoubtedly hastened his death.

In the year 1978, at a dinner for Dr. Eric G. Taylor “a vacant chair” was placed at the head table to remember William T. Sanders.  Two of his sons were sent tickets for this occasion.

Brother Sanders had this to say in part about the seminar program:

In embarking upon an academic quest for an understanding of our problems as firefighters, in the form of a seminar we hope to build a sound, basic structure which should prove beneficial and helpful to the officers and membership in executing their duties.  The basic purpose of the seminar is to elevate the competence and the acceptance of the firefighter in Ontario.

Up to four $500 bursaries are granted annually to students who are the child of a member who has died in the line of duty.

Preference is given to first-year students.

Applicants may apply annually while enroled in a post-secondary institution.

Post-secondary education shall include, but not be limited to, university, college, or a trade or apprenticeship program.

The deadline to submit an application is August 1st.

Applications should include the following information;

Student/Applicant:  name, address, phone number, email, signature, and date of application.

OPFFA Member:  name, address, phone number, Local name and number, applicant’s relationship to the member.

Secondary Education:  school name, address, and phone number.

Post-Secondary Education: school name, address, and program enroled in.

Additional Documentation:

Copy of High School (Grade 12) transcript if enroling in 1st year at a post-secondary institution/program.

If in 2nd year or beyond of post-secondary education, a copy of the previous year's transcript should be provided.

Proof of enrolment at a post-secondary institution/program should be attached.

Upcoming Events

Fire Ground Survival Train-the-Trainer Course
Jun 10, 2024
Kingston, Ontario
OPFFA 26th Annual Convention
Jun 24, 2024
Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario
Ontario Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
Oct 06, 2024
Queen's Park, Toronto
DeFazio Taylor Health & Safety Labour Education Seminar
Oct 07, 2024
Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto
2024 Legislative Conference
Nov 25, 2024
Chelsea Hotel, Toronto

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