IAFF advances key legislative priorities at Canadian Parliamentary Conference

April 23, 2024

IAFF focuses on firefighter safety and legislative changes at Canadian Legislative Conference

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) recently concluded its largest Canadian Legislative Conference yet, where 162 delegates from 62 local unions across Canada gathered in Parliament Hill.

The focus was on pressing Members of Parliament and Senators to address three legislative priorities: eliminating perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from firefighting gear and foams, advocating for Criminal Code amendments to deter assaults on on-duty firefighters and paramedics, and enhancing Canada’s airport firefighting regulations.

Delegates engage with political leaders to push forward key safety measures

During the conference, delegates engaged in discussions with political leaders from multiple parties, underscoring the urgency of their legislative agenda.

General President Edward Kelly praised the delegates for their dedication and efforts in advancing these critical issues.

“We are a united union. We’re moving in the right direction and taking on the right fights. And whatever fights come our way, we’ll move in that direction,” Kelly stated.

Noteworthy moments included addresses by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan, who both expressed strong support for the IAFF’s initiatives.

Canadian IAFF membership shows significant growth and engagement

General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima highlighted the IAFF’s substantial growth in Canada, now boasting nearly 30,000 members.

Lima emphasized the union’s strength and unity, crediting the Canadian leadership’s political astuteness and the importance of maintaining awareness among members about the union’s role in political advancements.

“Everything we do comes from politics,” Lima explained, stressing the hands-on nature of their efforts.

Legislative advancements and community engagement celebrated at conference

The conference also served as a platform to celebrate legislative successes and community engagement.

Notable achievements included the advancement of Bill C-321, which seeks to increase penalties for assaults against first responders, and the enactment of Bill C-224, which established a national framework to combat occupational cancer among firefighters.

The conference concluded with the annual IAFF Parliamentary Reception, fostering continued dialogue among attendees and political figures.

FSJA comment

The Canadian Legislative Conference marks a significant step in addressing key safety and health issues facing firefighters across Canada.

By focusing on legislative changes such as the elimination of PFAS from firefighting equipment and the protection of first responders through legal amendments, the IAFF demonstrates a proactive approach in safeguarding the well-being of its members and enhancing public safety standards.

Such initiatives not only promote the health and safety of firefighters but also ensure that they can continue to serve their communities effectively.

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