Looking back on this year, it’s exciting to see what the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) has been accomplishing as an organisation, and how it is working to be the voice of the Canadian volunteer firefighters.

From the outset, I need to thank the dedication of our Board members for their continued commitment and time invested as the CVFSA strives to be an advocate for the volunteer fire service in Canada. The CVFSA would be nothing without its members, so special thanks also go out to the men and women who make up the Association and the commitment they show for the safety of their communities.

For the past nine years, the CVFSA has held its annual meetings in Ottawa. This year, in an attempt to get out to our membership, we had the privilege to go to Wolfville, in Nova Scotia (NS). Thanks to the organizers of this event and, in particular, special thanks are in order for our NS Director Paul Maynard and the Kings County Firefighters Association for pulling this all together. During our time in Wolfville, the Board held some tremendous planning and mapping meetings, which, with the able assistance of Trefor Munn-Venn of Rhapsody Strategies, produced some strategic ideas for the Association. Speaking of getting out to our membership, expressions of interests came from British Columbia and Alberta villages to host us in 2018, but no decisions have been made as of yet.

There have no doubt been some challenges this past year, but I am proud to say we are moving forward with many new opportunities.

The CVFSA is honoured this year to announce two annual scholarships, both in memory of two great CVFSA leaders, namely Jim Hayter and Don McKee. Jim (from the Municipality of Brooke-Alvinston) was one of the founding directors of the CVFSA, giving countless hours to help establish the Association. Don’s (from Municipality of Kawartha Lakes) contributions as a business leader proved invaluable as the CVFSA grew to become a registered charity. We owe them both a great debt for their contributions. Details of these two scholarships will soon be available on our Web site.

The CVFSA continues to offer a Municipal Long Service Award in the form of a medal; it is being made available to volunteer firefighters with more than 30 years of service through their local municipality. This award ensures that a national standard is maintained and has become a popular way to recognize the dedicated men and women serving their communities through the fire service. The program will be expanded in 2018 to include a service pin with certificate.

I want to thank our corporate sponsors, Porter Novelli and Duracell. They have been a huge support for us and we appreciate their dedication to the fire service and our organization. I also want to express a special thanks to First Alert, as they continue to support our Lifetime Achievement Award.

The CVFSA is happy to announce new sponsorships this year with two strong community‑based companies. We are excited to be partnering with Acres Emergency Equipment as well as our newest sponsor, Giant Tiger.

Other great sponsors that help us operate are, of course, BMO and their firefighter credit card program, as well as McKee Employee Benefits Administration Ltd. – their support and administration have been key factors to keeping our Association alive.

The big news of last year had to be the devastating fires in Fort McMurray. Troy Mutch, our VP, was instrumental in getting Tide Loads of Hope in place for evacuees. Again this year, wildland fires made the headlines in Kamloops and Ashcroft Reserve (BC), and the CVFSA was instrumental in getting Tide Loads of Hope set up for fire evacuees. I want to acknowledge the help we got from our VP, Troy Mutch, who once again was our boots on the ground working with our sponsors in supporting and aiding wildfire evacuees.

The CVFSA is being recognized as the national voice of the Canadian Volunteer Firefighter.

Troy and I were honoured to be at the CFFF Firefighter Memorial Weekend in September, representing our Association and the volunteer firefighters. As we have been able to do in the past, the CVFSA was once again able to bring its financial support to this year’s CFFF Memorial Weekend as a Silver Helmet sponsor. The CVFSA is privileged to have a seat on the CFFF Board. In August, Troy and I were invited to Regina to be part of Public Safety Minister Goodale’s announcement of the National Annual Firefighter’s Memorial Day, to be held every year on the second Sunday of September.

As President, I sit on the National Advisory Council (NAC) to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. The NAC and the CAFC have been welcoming and supportive of the CVFSA as the voice of the volunteer fire service. Through the NAC, I have been able to participate in Government Relations week in Ottawa, bringing forward national fire‑related issues to our federal government.

One of our greatest achievements this year has been the recent appointment of an Aboriginal director to the National Board. Mr. Leon Smallboy has indeed been nominated as CVFSA’s first Aboriginal director and we are excited to work with him and the First Nations communities he represents.

It is an honour to be part of this Association and to serve with its national Board. There are many projects in the works to help build our Association as we support and promote the volunteer firefighters of Canada.

Stay Safe

Le president national / Directer de la C.-B.,
Graham Pawlett
President / BC Director