Exhaust as Cancerous as Asbestos, says WHO
I suspect many of us remember the days when
the 626 Health and Safety Committee were
concerned with exhaust fumes in the fire halls.
The work and perseverance of guys like Jimmy
Johnson, Wayne Harris and others were eventually
responsible for the truck exhaust systems we
know today. Well, like everything its not until
years later we find out the real consequences.
“The (expert) working group found that diesel
exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and also noted
a positive association with an increased risk of
Here's the whole
article by the Toronto Star.
Its been some 14 years since that last
meeting of Local 626 and the merging into a new
Local 3888. So to see so many familiar faces
after all the years was nothing short of great.
June 14th was the day and it saw the first
annual Scarborough Fire Fighters Reunion well
attended. The meal was good and the camaraderie
even better. To be able to reconnect with the
long retired and those still active was
enjoyable. Things got going around 11:30am and
the pub quickly filled, it saw the likes of Ted
Barnes, Barry Papaleo, Bob McWhinnie, Ted Paget,
Ray Green, Noel Winders, Dave Spence, Jim Bredin,
Frank Pagnello and many others conversing on the
past, present and future. The presentation to
myself of a golf shirt and ball cap emblazoned
with the 626 crest for hosting this website was
a surprise and very much appreciated - thankyou
all. Without rambling on, I believe a good time
was had by all - stay tuned for the next one.
Follow ScarboroughFireFighters.org on
Scarborough Firefighters Reunion Lunch
Apparently there's been many
rsvp's for this 1st annual event, but there can
never be too many. As mentioned previously, for
Firefighters October 1998 marked the end of one
era and the beginning of another. Fourteen
years have quickly passed, and what better time than
now to reconnect with some fellow 626ers. So
lets mark our calendars and rsvp our intentions
to attend (asap) and make this a record setting
first reunion. The
1st Annual Scarborough Firefighters Annual
Reunion Lunch is to take
place on June 14th. The location is the
Harp and Crown (Altona Rd & Kingston Rd.,
Pickering) - Start time 11:30ish. Cost is $10.00 and includes a roast
beef lunch. A head count is necessary to place
the order for food, so please RSVP
Roy Fletcher - 416-261-006;
John Vonk - 905-509-2953 or e-mail
Al Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hope to see you there - spread the word.
Firefighters Combating Cancer
For the Benefit of the
Princess Margaret Foundation for Cancer Research
May 29th - 8:00 Shot-Gun Start - Sleepy Hollow
Country Club, 13242, 10th Line Stouffville.
Registration Form and further details available
Ride to Conquer Cancer
I am riding in my 5th and Final
Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 9th and 10th
I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 4 years, in
which you have raised
$23,000.00 for Cancer Research.
I am hoping that we ,together, can raise
$7000.00 this year and surpass the
That would be a fitting conclusion to OUR
support for Princess Margaret
Hospital Campbell Family Institute.
There are other rides that have peaked my
interest, and I will explore them
in the future.
I thank you for your overwhelming support and
congratulate you on your
Please support me by going to my
Ride to Conquer Cancer Page
Congrats go out to Doug Jones
(660); Ilmar Lepik (662); Mark Ashcroft
(663); Dean Weare (664); Gerry Loftus (#665); Mike Decker (666) and
Johnston Martin (668) on their promotion to
Captain with the TFS.
After 32 or more years four
more decide to call it a day. Best wishes to Jim
Kirwin, Rob Reid, Tom Ansell and Ron Bennett in
future of Fire be Partimers??
Never mind that the logistics
of having part timers trained to the same level
as full timers may be a challenge of its own. It
wasn't long ago the idea of part time
firefighters in a full time career department
would have been unheard of. However with a city
looking for savings, the passing of the
following amendment at the recent City of
Toronto budget meeting would indicate that there
are many councilors who may favour the idea. The
question is will it grow any legs to go anywhere
before (or after) the next election.
Celebration - Daryl Wright
Starting with the Scarborough Fire
Department in June of 1984, he was stationed
at Hall #8 (now 232), later moving to Hall
#7 (231). Today Daryl Wright is a District
Chief in the Communications Division with TFS. As with many others Daryl has decided
its time to relax and is retiring. A
celebration to wish him well in his future
is planned for Wednesday February 8th (from
5pm onwards) at the Fox and Fiddle on Finch
just east of Keele Street. Tickets are $20
for food and including gift and are
available from Rayanne 416 577 0072 or pay
at the door.
- Labours Pain
Its no secret that unions are
under a lot of pressure in the United States.
Some giving huge concessions and many even
having their right to bargain legislated away.
History has shown that what happens south of the
border eventually makes it way north. The City
Of Toronto is in the midst of some tough budget
decisions and there's even talk of workers being
locked out. With that in mind this documentary
by City TV (Tough Choices - Labour Pains) gives
some insight as to where things may be head
here. It speaks not only about unions and if
they are even needed, but also Pensions and
there affordability. Its about an hour long,
whether you're stilll working or retired its an
Tough Choices -
Retirements [Aug 31/11]
Well three more find its time to
take a breather after 30+ years Ken Turner (Sen # 485) Bill Hill (Sen
#519) and Steve Harder (Sen #566) have decided to retire. Best
wishes to you on your retirement.
Wellness [Aug 7/11]
It was recently mentioned that a number of our retirees and/or their
sons or daughters who are now active firefighters may not be aware
of the wellness initiative put forth by the TPFFA Local 3888 and the
TFS. In an effort to help make more of us are aware of this
initiative the wellness letters for
firefighters and their
doctor along with the important
Annual Medical Screening Components for Firefighters are
available here. Its important to note that
this initiative is to further the health and wellness of the fire
fighter and is meant to be confidential between them and their
Best wishes for a great future go out to Hans Leppik (#417),
Bruce MacFarlane (#540) anfd John Poirier (#586) on their
retirements as of June 30/11. As we slowly move towrds the end of
the SFD seniorty list its time once again to congratulate Morgan
Dixon (#653), Jeff David (#654), Baris Lang (#655), Mark Orrett
(#657), Richard Stuart (#658) and Darren Van De Walker (#659) on
their promotion to Captain with the TFS.
One understands the fear that the word 'cuts' can have when it
comes to jobs. But I always thought union brothers/sisters stood
together. In Wisconsin and other places across the United States you
see Police Fire EMS and all of Labour standing side by side fighting
for the common good. Yet when the word "cuts" gets thrown around
here in Ontario, the other Unions are quick to cut the legs out from
under anyone to protect themselves. It happened during the Rae Days
and now from reading this article it seems we're seeing it again. So
much for soilidarity!
National Post -
'We're in a war with the...'
National Post - Q&A: Rumblings of resentment are just that,
Toronto Fire Chief says
Retiree News -
Benefit Info [Jan 21/11]
Roy Fletcher has
mentioned that a few of our retirees are fast approaching the age of
65, (just a few!) This is when our benefits are cut off and we must
make our own provisions for further coverage of everything from
dental to travel insurance. Roy has availed the services of Holly
Murphy from Encon Group who will attend the February 10th
luncheon and is prepared to answer all our questions regarding
Those who have not yet
retired are more than welcome to attend and perhaps get a greater
insight into how to prepare for retirement. A reminder will go out
to those on the mail list as it gets closer to the date. PLEASE
r.s.v.p. if you plan to attend in order to determine the amount of
fatigue, and fires
/ WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
The effects of shift work,
particularly the frequent changeover between day and night shifts,
on personal health and safety are well-documented. Less is known
about the effects specific to firefighters, but the trend to 24-hour
shifts has swept through Ontario departments. Now Winnipeg
firefighters are considering putting the shift change on the table
at contract negotiations this fall. Who will benefit?
Is a firefighter on the 20th
straight hour sufficiently alert to respond to an emergency? Is he
or she better prepared than a counterpart who is on the second of
consecutive 14-hour night shifts, as happens in Winnipeg now?
A tiny body of research,
largely that of an occupational health specialist in Wisconsin,
favours 24-hour shifts over the alternative combination of 10-hour
and 14-hour shifts many departments use. The specialist, Linda
Glazner, also qualifies that the 24-hour shifts work best when there
is a long break between them and when firefighters get to sleep
during their shifts. Further, one rotation model for the 24-hour
shift option allows a five-day break.
That sleep time is not
possible, according to the Winnipeg firefighters' union, which
believes this city's fire departments are the busiest in Canada. No
firefighters nap during their shifts, says union president Alex
Forrest. The concern, then, is how the city's busy stations can
adapt to the 24-hour shift. Mr. Forrest speculates the current
rehab system, which sees units from other, less busy stations spell
off firefighters who have had hectic shifts, might be expanded.
Mr. Forrest says the
discussion in Winnipeg (a referendum will be held in a couple of
months as to whether moving to 24-hour shifts becomes a bargaining
item) is split roughly between younger and older members. Younger
firefighters are better at weathering the longer shifts, some have
found, while older members are worried a 24-hour shift would
compound the fatigue that sets in after a 14-hour shift to the
detriment of their health and ability to serve.
Most firefighters in the
United States work 24-hour shifts and a number in Canada are
following suit of their Ontario counterparts. The longer shifts
bring management issues -- how do you calculate sick time when a
firefighter misses 24 hours of work? But more importantly, that a
significant minority is opposed to 24-hour shifts cannot be
discounted. If a quarter of the workforce is unable to maintain the
pace, the quality of emergency service would suffer.
Other jurisdictions have used
lengthy pilot projects to test the 24-hour shift. Chief Jim Brennan
must weigh the scant research that supports moving to longer work
periods against the impact on his firefighters and paramedics (who
would need to be consulted as well), not all of whom are ready for a
dramatic shift in shifts.
Republished from the
Winnipeg Free Press
print edition February 2, 2011 A10
increasing peril as vacant death traps proliferate
From Globe and Mail Jan. 07, 2011 3:00AM EST
A lone figure wearing a backpack was caught
on surveillance cameras entering the historic Empress Hotel building
before the massive blaze early Monday morning which gutted it, The
Globe and Mail has learned.
The information is part of the Toronto Police-Ontario Fire Marshal
investigation into the six-alarm fire which at one point saw two
Toronto firefighters fall from the roof of an adjacent building into
the very heart of the inferno.
While two crews on ladder trucks directed water onto the fallen men
to keep the flames at bay, the department’s RIT squads – rapid
intervention teams whose sole job is to save their fellows when they
are in trouble – lowered water-filled hoses the fallen men held onto
while their colleagues hoisted them to safety.
Although the two were later discharged from hospital with minor
injuries, theirs was a shockingly close call and a grim reminder
that many Canadian cities and their fire departments are
ill-prepared for an onslaught which may be just around the corner.
In the United States, fires in vacant buildings such as the
structure at Yonge and Gould Streets in downtown Toronto account for
fully 75 per cent of firefighter deaths.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health, or NIOSH, which two years ago released an alert about the
issue, 96 firefighters across the U.S. died, and another 106 were
injured, at “structure fires” between January, 1998, and February,
2007. Fifty-four of the 71 fires occurred in unoccupied buildings,
accounting for 72 of the 96 deaths and 94 of the 106 injuries.
As a reminder of the veracity of those statistics, just before
Christmas two Chicago firefighters died, trapped when a wall and
roof collapsed in a fire at an abandoned building on the city’s
South Side. The building had been vacant for years, the gas and
water turned off, but firefighters feared squatters might be inside
and went in after them.
It is one of the awful, split-second decisions firefighters have to
make all the time – as the NIOSH bulletin put it, will “we risk our
lives a lot, in a calculated manner, to save savable lives” or “a
little” to save savable lives, or not at all “for a building or
lives that are already lost?”
But fires in vacant buildings render those decisions all the more
difficult “because of all the unknowns,” said Fred LeBlanc,
president of the 11,300-member Ontario Professional Firefighters
Association and a Kingston firefighter.
Arriving crews may not know if the building has fire protection or
standpipe systems and if they’re disabled; if the utilities are on
or off; if the floors are compromised; if the exits and entrances
are boarded. In addition, Mr. LeBlanc said, in these situations
crews don’t even get witness reports from “people running out to
give us details” about where the fire started.
Crews may be left with only rumours or sightings of squatters who
often light fires for heat or light. Such reports may be inaccurate,
but with a reactive group like firefighters, whose instincts and
training are to rush toward danger as others flee it, it may be
enough to propel them into peril.
Ironically, even the one measure fire departments and North American
cities routinely require – the boarding up of abandoned buildings –
not only may fail to dissuade squatters, but also poses an
impediment to firefighters running out of air or trying to get out.
“There’s a high probability [in these situations] that firefighters
will become disoriented or trapped in these [vacant] buildings,” Rob
Simonds, president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and
the chief in Saint John, told The Globe in a telephone interview.
While dilapidated urban cores and desolated downtowns have been
widespread in some American cities for years, their Canadian
counterparts have been spared until recently, with Toronto in
particular long proud of its vibrant inner core. But the economic
slowdown has begun to be felt across Canada, especially in towns and
cities in Ontario, the country’s former industrial heartland.
Among the key recommendations in the NIOSH bulletin was for fire
departments to become pro-active about risk management – conduct
regular inspections of vacant buildings; enter that information into
the dispatch computer so responding crews get it; work with other
agencies to identify unoccupied buildings.
Yet there isn’t even a central data-collecting agency for fire
statistics in Canada, and only a few municipalities where fire
departments are even attempting the shift from a reactive – if
frankly heroic – traditional model to a pro-active one.
Niagara Falls, Ont., where more than 25 per cent of structure fires
in the city occur in vacant buildings, is probably furthest along
that path. Using the Ontario Fire Code as the hammer – it says
“Vacant buildings shall be secured against unauthorized entry” – the
department works with local police to find unoccupied buildings,
immediately inspects them, orders them secured – and then vigorously
prosecutes owners who fail to comply. Just last month, the Ontario
Divisional Court upheld one such order on a vacant building.
As Deputy Chief Jim Jessop told The Globe in a phone interview, his
department has prosecuted more than two dozen cases, won fines of as
much as $25,000 against owners, received the okay to demolish seven
buildings, and, with a number of larger abandoned factories and
warehouses, forced owners to take and pay for extraordinary measures
such as installing security fences, removing all combustibles and
The situation which galvanized Niagara Falls was the last fire at a
vacant house in the city in 2004. There had been others, but, Deputy
Chief Jessop said, the department handled the case in the
traditional way, what he called, “Board up, speak to the owner, and
wait for the next fire.”
That came after the place had been turned into a crack house by
squatters. Firefighters were crawling over 6,000 dirty needles and
pulling them out of their gear afterwards.
But Hamilton, has taken perhaps the most sweeping approach. Two
years ago, the city created a “vacant building protocol,” where
abandoned properties were regularly inspected. Within a year – stung
by the demolition of a historic theatre – the city moved to give its
On Oct. 13, city council passed a “vacant building registry bylaw,”
which requires owners of any property vacant for 90 days –
residential, commercial or industrial – to register it with the city
for a fee. The intention, Marty Hazell, senior director of parking
and bylaw services, “is to pro-actively monitor the buildings on our
list once every three months” to protect them from deterioration
“and ultimately encourage re-use or occupancy.”
In addition, on the same day, council approved asking the province
to review legislation which makes the owners of vacant commercial or
industrial buildings eligible for municipal tax rebates. This
legislation dates back to 2001, and city officials believe that in
addition to the costs – counting the educational portion, Hamilton
rebated more than $3-million in 2009 – the rebate program acts as a
disincentive to downtown renewal.
The plague of abandoned homes isn’t confined to large urban areas.
Chief Simonds said his department is now working with Saint John
council towards taking a Niagara Falls-type approach. “If we have a
line-of-duty death, it will be too late,” he said.
With a population of 130,000 in the Greater Saint John area, the
fire department already has tracked 101 vacant buildings – many
small tenements –and integrated the information onto its database.
“This is absolutely the way of the future,” he said. “As stewards of
public safety, we need to keep our finger on the pulse of this
Part of the difficulty is that with the gap in national data
collection, neighbouring municipalities may be operating in the dark
about new initiatives taken just down the road. Chief Jessop was
completely unaware what Hamilton, for instance, has been doing. The
two cities are just 45 minutes apart.
But as Chief Jessop said, push come to shove, “It’s going to be our
guys there on their hands and knees in the heat and the smoke and
the darkness. It’s not going to be a building inspector or someone
from public health.”
Toronto, where the old Empire Hotel is no more, doesn’t have a
vacant building registry of any sort. Nor do officials, said Blair
Hawkins, senior communications co-ordinator with the city, have an
estimate of how many empty structures there are in Toronto.
But the city processes about 2,100 vacancy tax rebate applications a
year – though, Mr. Hawkins cautioned, that number includes entire
buildings and buildings with vacant units.
Link to -
Firefighters face increasing peril as vacant
death traps proliferate
Question [Dec 24/10]]
Some firefighting experts think seven
24-hour shifts a month is best. Others say it makes it ‘a
well-paid part-time job.’
Firefighters to get breast cancer coverage.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 5:59 PM CST
Manitoba is about to become the
first province in Canada to recognize breast cancer as an
occupational risk to female firefighters.
That means it will be added to the list of recognized job hazards,
opening the door to provincial compensation, with the expectation
that the coverage will be introduced in the Manitoba legislature on
Tuesday, said Alex Forrest, president of the Winnipeg firefighters
He said three other cancers will also be recognized in the
legislation: prostate cancer, melanoma, and multiple myeloma.
About 40 Winnipeg firefighters currently suffering from those
cancers will now be able to seek compensation under the new
legislation, Forrest said.
"The firefighter's family, if that firefighter dies of that cancer,
the family's looked after from [the province's Workers' Compensation
Board] in the same way as if a firefighter falls through a floor in
a fire," he said.
Manitoba leads the way
Several other cancers are already recognized by provincial
legislation as being linked to firefighting. Manitoba was one of the
first provinces to offer such coverage in 2002, and it was followed
by almost all others.
Firefighters are routinely exposed to toxic fumes and gases released
by burning plastics and synthetic materials.
The risk of developing breast cancer is three to five times greater
in a female firefighter than in the general population, Forrest
said, noting "at every fire there are more than 200 known
carcinogens that are connected to breast cancer."
The Winnipeg Fire Department has 43 female firefighters — second
only to Toronto in the country.
Cancers initially covered by Manitoba after the 2002 legislation was
introduced to include primary site brain cancer, bladder or kidney
cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or leukemia.
That coverage was expanded in 2005 to include colon or ureter
cancers and lung cancer in non-smokers, as well as heart attacks
within 24 hours of emergency responses.
EMPLOYMENT LAW E-BULLETIN
December 18, 2009 Issue No. 31
WHERE UNION AGREES TO LOW WAGE INCREASE,
RESTORATION TO NORMATIVE LEVELS WILL BE
GRADUALIZED, ARBITRATOR RULES
After municipalities in the Toronto area
amalgamated and formed the City of
Toronto in 1998, salary increases for
firefighters were established by an
interest arbitration board chaired by
Martin Teplitsky. However, while all
firefighters from the former
municipalities were eventually brought
to the same salary level, Etobicoke
firefighters did not achieve full parity
with the other firefighters until
January 1, 2001. The Etobicoke
firefighters maintained that full parity
should have been awarded to them in
1998, thus entitling them to greater
Litigation ensued between the Etobicoke
firefighters, the Toronto Firefighters'
Association and the City of Toronto. The
action was settled by an agreement to
refer the issue to the original interest
The Etobicoke firefighters requested
that their salaries be increased, as of
1998, to equal those of the other
firefighter groups in Toronto, each of
which was awarded the same wage rate in
1998. In the alternative, they submitted
that full parity with the other
firefighter groups in Toronto should
have been achieved earlier than January
1, 2001. While they accepted that the
Board's decision was a discretionary one
requiring consideration of many factors,
it was the Etobicoke firefighters'
position that "the most important
factor, which should prevail over all
others, was pay equity; that is, all
firefighters in Toronto should earn the
same rate of pay, at the first
opportunity, i.e. 1998, regardless of
their earnings pre-amalgamation or any
The City did not agree.
The interest arbitration board, chaired
by Martin Teplitsky, reconvened, seven
years after it had originally sat, and
considered the matter de novo (afresh),
but it unanimously denied the Etobicoke
The chair accepted that pay equity was
an important factor, but declared that
it was not the only factor to be
considered: "There are other factors
which must be taken into account, one of
which, in this Board's opinion, is the
dynamic of collective bargaining which
may, depending on the circumstances,
call for incremental change in working
conditions and gradualized improvement
in wages." Elaborating further on the
role of gradualization in the collective
bargaining process, the chair stated: "Gradualization
reflects the collective bargaining
reality that catch-up may not be
achieved all at once, rather over a
period of time, in situations where
employees have through their own
negotiations placed themselves in a
position from which they subsequently
seek to be relieved."
In this regard, the chair found that the
salaries of the Etobicoke firefighters
"fell behind" in the circumstances at
hand because of the give-and-take of
collective bargaining: "[T]he Etobicoke
firefighters accepted 0% in 1996 and 0%
in 1997 – a lower settlement than they
otherwise would have achieved – to
secure a particular goal in bargaining.
They could not reasonably expect their
salaries to be restored fully the
following year because the effect of
immediate restoration would be to
deprive the employer of the benefit of
its bargain, which involved an ongoing
cost. In the ordinary course of
bargaining, this self-created falling
behind would have been gradually
redressed over several years."
"Employees should neither benefit nor be
harmed by amalgamation," the chair
stated, pointing out that to grant the
Etobicoke firefighters' request for
immediate full parity in 1998 would
result in giving them a benefit that
they would not have achieved otherwise:
"To award an increase in 1998 of more
than 5% to Etobicoke firefighters to
bring them immediately to full parity
with other firefighter groups in Toronto
would have given them a benefit from
amalgamation that they would not have
achieved in free collective bargaining."
Striking the appropriate balance between
"the competing interests of parity and
respect for the collective bargaining
process," the board denied the request
of the Etobicoke firefighters, ruling
that "incremental catching-up of the
Etobicoke firefighters is consistent
with sound labour relations and with
prevailing collective bargaining
practices. The alternative, a windfall,
would be inconsistent with sound labour
This interest arbitration turned, in
part, on the issue of replication – that
is, the board should seek to award a
collective agreement as close as
possible to what would likely have been
achieved through collective bargaining
had that been possible. In this regard,
once the Etobicoke firefighters accepted
a lower wage increase in return for an
(unspecified) collective bargaining
gain, the die was cast.
Case Name: Toronto Professional
Firefighters Association and Certain
Firefighters of the Former City of
Etobicoke v. Corporation of the City of
Proceeding: Interest Arbitration
Arbitrator: Martin Teplitsky, Chair
Date: June 18, 2009
Full Text: http://onlinedb.lancasterhouse.com/images/up-Teplitsky_TorontoFF.pdf