Government Actions For the Fire Service on COVID-19

The Ontario Government has taken action and made statements in support of Ontarios Fire Service Professionals at the same time, the OPFFA is alert and cautious of government actions that may affect our members work or home activities or place our members at added risk during the performance of their duties.

APRIL 17 - NEW

Order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to Municipalities

  • Yesterday, municipalities were advised of powers being delegated under the EMCP Act. CLICK TO SEE THE ANNOUNCEMENT
  • Today we received a copy of the order enabling municipalities to re-deploy staff and override collective agreements in doing so
    • In order to execute this order the municipality would have to declare a state of emergency (which most have already done)
  • The order however, excludes Fire Fighters as defined in the FPPA, Police and Paramedics  CLICK TO READ THE ORDER
    • Again, some fire chiefs and departments will state they have the authority to over-ride your CBA, they do not, and it is clear in this order that they do not.
    • We still however, recommend that local executive boards work collaboratively with management on resolving items where possible during and only for the time frame of the pandemic.  Consult with an OPFFA rep if you have concerns.
    • We will list any additional detail we receive on this item as we receive it.

 

APRIL 15 - NEW - Ontario Extends the Declaration of Emergency

  • April 14, the government extended the declaration and all orders made under the declaration to May 12.
  • To view this news release please CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NEWS RELEASE

APRIL 15 - Just Added - OBC & OFC Exemptions during COVID-19

  • In March, the government made orders that permit the construction of Temporary Health Facilities
  • Simply put, in re-purposing facilities or erecting temporary facilities for COVID-19, certain building and fire code requirements do not have be met
  • See the Ontario Fire Marshall's Communique - CLICK HERE

Actions Supporting Ontario's Fire Fighters

APRIL 10 - NEW - Priority COVID-19 Testing for OPFFA members

  • Government has announced that health care workers and first responders will receive priority testing for COVID-19
    Earlier, we realize that the availability of testing kits/equipment was scarce and this situation is improving
    Currently there is no formal process for priority testing however some departments have made arrangements with local health units.  Inquiring within your jurisdiction is recommended as a first step.  We will post directions as they become available.
    For a listing of regional health units CLICK HERE

  • April 9, the government made the following formal announcement of priority testing.  CLICK HERE FOR THE GUIDANCE UPDATE. Generally here are the highlights
    • Priority testing is for SYMPTOMATIC first responsers
    • It is not recommended for asymptomatic responders
    • Symptoms may be typical (common) or atypical 
    • The memo lists the typical symptoms and atypical symptoms of COVID-19
    • When additional testing sites come on board, and if a location list is available we will post it
    • Although under this memo, people being tested have symptoms and should already be self isolating and self monitoring, members should consult their union or management as each employer may have different guidelines regarding work attendance or isolation during testing periods.

 

  • During the financial statement, it was stated that $75M would be earmarked for PPE

 

  • NEW INFORMATION - Daycare for Emergency Responders.  Government indicated that child care facilities may open to provide care for children of first responders (including fire fighters).  The details are now released.
    • The initial statement from government is here SEE STATEMENT
    • APRIL 15 - NEW INFORMATION - Child Care for Health Care and Frontline staff

 

  • Extensions of drivers license renewals. The Government has announced that they will extend expiry dates for licenses that expire during the COVID-19 crisis

 

  • Extensions of other certifications.  Our Policy contact at the Ministry of the Solicitor General indicates they are looking at expiry dates for certifications, licenses etc. that would apply to police and fire fighters.  The objective will be to legislate extensions that grant indemnification to the individual and the employer during the extension due to the COVID-19 crisis. 
    • ADDIONAL INFORMATION will be posted when available

 

  • Discussions on utilizing expired N95 masks.  I have had repeated conversations with SOLGEN regarding the use of expired masks. This matter remains outstanding however as stated throughout our web page, the N95 is the MINIMUM standard, and if expired ones can be 'certified' or the failure item (reportedly the elastic) identified then hopefully a solution can be found to enable their safe use.  Otherwise our direction is to step up the level of protection P100, SCBA etc. See our PPE section.

 

Actions NOT Supporting Fire Fighters

  • Please read the N95 mask item on the Ontario Fire Fighters web page - we identify the IMPROPER RECOMMENDATION that surgical masks can be used by fire fighters to unknown or COVID positive patients.

 

  • WE PATENTLY OBJECT to the document penned by Dr. Barbara Yaffe, and DO NOT recommend the use of surgical masks.  ALWAYS protect to a higher level even if that means using your SCBA and properly decontaminating it every time.

 

  • The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has advocated to the Premier that they be given the power to over-ride our collective agreements.  
    • Again, our advice is for locals to make agreements to address many matters detailed on these web pages
    • We stand opposed to this request by the Fire Chiefs of Ontario.

 

 

This page will be updated regularly.

Last updated April 22.