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It is my honour and privilege to bring greetings on behalf of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Service. 2018 has been another amazing year for the CVFSA.

I need to thank the dedication of the CVFSA Board members for their continued commitment and for their time invested in being advocates for the volunteer fire service across Canada.

A special thanks to our VP, Troy Mutch. Your continued devotion and work within the association has been a key factor to our success. I also want to thank Martin E. Bell, our Chief Administrative Officer, for his guidance and leadership.

The CVFSA Board continues to work at being the voice of the Canadian volunteer firefighters. We are proud to have some new faces to the Board:

  • Leon Smallboy sits as the CVFSA National Aboriginal Director. The CVFSA recognizes and supports the ongoing efforts needed to affect change within First Nations and across Canada. We are happy to be working with the creation of an Indigenous Fire Marshal Office.
  • Carl G. Pearson has taken on the role of Ontario Director, his experience on other boards and dedication to the fire service will no doubt be a huge asset for the CVFSA
  • Shayne D. LaMontagne is the new Saskatchewan Director, we are excited to have him join the Board and are looking forward to working with him.
  • Wayne Jasper is a new name to the CVFSA, but is well known across Canada as a Board member with the CFFF as well as his speaking engagements on firefighter mental health. We are honoured to have Wayne join us as Assistant BC Director.

Sadly, I need to give special thanks to Dave Thomson as he steps down from his role as Ontario Director and Brad Davison as he leaves his role as Manitoba Director. Both were very strong and dedicated individuals who brought many talents to the CVFSA Board.

In April of this past year, former New Brunswick director, retired Fire Chief Fred B. Kennedy passed away. He was a member of the CVFSA Board and executive for ten years. Fred was 75 and he will be missed.

On another note the British Columbia Fire Service lost a long-time director and past provincial president on the death of Les Schumacher. Les had attended a couple of the CVFSA annual general meetings over the years.

The CVFSA is proud to sit on several national fire service boards. Currently we have a seat on the Canadian Fallen Firefighter Foundation Board and are a Silver Helmet Sponsor of the Memorial Weekend. As president, I am honoured to have a seat on the National Advisory Council to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the CVFSA participated again this year with at the CAFC’s Government Relations week.

The CVFSA is honored to have a seat at the Indigenous Fire Marshal advisory board. The Indigenous Fire Marshall’s Office is almost here, much work has been done through AFAC and the CVFSA is proud to support this vital position. I, as well as Troy Mutch and Martin Bell have attended their meetings and offer whatever assistance we can to have this position come into being during 2019.

Having a seat at these Boards provides a national voice of the Canadian Volunteer Firefighter.

Over the last 12 months, the CVFSA has seen some growth and exciting opportunities. You can find a restructured look at our newly updated Website. It is looking and working better than ever before with many new and exciting sections still to come. New easy-to-use membership links are there as well to try to reach out to the volunteer firefighters across Canada. Our Facebook group has grown to over 4,900 followers. Known as, “Canadian Firefighter – CVFSA”. A newsletter is in the works which will be providing updates and info regarding the volunteer fire service. (expected to launch in February)

The CVFSA is proud to be able to offer the Municipal Long Service Award medal (30 years plus) as well as service bars. These are great ways for municipal units to recognize members of fire departments for their dedication and service to the communities they serve.

2018 marked the first year we were able to award the CVFSA Don McKee and Jim Hayter Memorial Scholarships. We had nominations from many CVFSA members across the nation. The winners included:

  • Benjamin Ross for the Don McKee Memorial Scholarship
  • Victoria (Tori) Shaw for the Jim Hayter Memorial Scholarship

In 2017, we had such a great conference in Wolfville Nova Scotia, hosted by Kings County Firefighter’s Association and in 2018 we found ourselves in Slave Lake, hosted by the Chief Jamie Coutts and the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service. Both were awesome conferences with incredible learning and networking opportunities.

It was the CVFSA’s honour to host representatives from the Japanese Firefighters Association in Slave Lake. A special thanks to Chief Brian Starkell of Nipawin Saskatchewan, 2012 CVFSA Life Time Achievement Award winner, for acting as a host and guide to the Japanese firefighters.

It was the CVFSA’s honour to host representatives from the Japanese Firefighters Association in Slave Lake. A special thanks to Chief Brian Starkell of Nipawin Saskatchewan, 2012 CVFSA Life Time Achievement Award winner, for acting as a host and guide to the Japanese firefighters.

With the help of Air Canada and other local Slave Lake sponsors, the CVFSA was able to bring some first responders from the Humboldt bus tragedy to join us in Slave Lake. On April 6, 2018, sixteen people were killed and thirteen injured when a northbound coach bus was struck by a westbound semi-trailer truck near Armley, Saskatchewan. Many from the fire service were First Responders to the tragedy and the CVFSA brought some of them here to the conference as our guests.

To sum up this years’ conference… Overachieved! None of it would have been possible without the help of many people. I need to thank the local sponsors, the work and support of the Hellfire Heroes of Lesser Slave Lake, the Coutts family and the Mutch family.

We are working on confirming a location for next year! We can tell you we are heading back east and most likely Nova Scotia as two of the proposals have come from that province. Our Board will be announcing soon the dates and location but we have not confirmed which invitation we will accept yet, but soon.

Thank you to our sponsors, Duracell, First Alert, Giant Tiger, Air Canada and Acres Emergency Vehicles; without their help we would not be able to do what we do.

Lastly, the CVFSA would be nothing without its members so some special thanks must also go out to the men and woman who make up our association and the commitment they show for the safety of their communities. How you represent yourselves with Honour, with Dedication and with Courage show you are all greater than yourselves. We like to say, “Desire to Serve – Courage to Act”. Thank you all.

Stay Safe,

Graham Pawlett
President / BC Director