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August 11, 2011
Toronto Fire Services receives prestigious international award
City of Toronto Fire Services has been named the winner of the 2011 International Tony Pini Award for "Diversity and Inclusion in the Fire Service." Toronto Fire Services will receive the award at a special event of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Fire Rescue International Conference on August 25 in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We are very pleased to be recognized and awarded for our efforts in fire service diversity and inclusion,” said City of Toronto Fire Chief William Stewart. “It is especially exciting that this award will appropriately recognize our leadership at an international level. This is a fitting tribute to the commitment and leadership of our people working together in teams to bring the finest in courage, compassion and service to the people of the city of Toronto.”

This award is jointly presented by the IAFC and Fire 2020, an international non-profit organization connecting Fire and Emergency Medical Services with their multicultural communities to increase the reach and effectiveness of diversity recruitment and retention, emergency response and community risk reduction programs.

The award specifically honours the Toronto Fire Services partnership with Centennial College to identify and address diversity barriers in the Ontario standardized Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training Program. The pre-service fire program is jointly administered by the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) and is offered through a number of Ontario community colleges.

In 2009, Toronto Fire Services partnered with Centennial College, one of the most diverse community colleges in Canada, to co-author an enhanced version of the pre-service fire program curriculum. The objective of the new curriculum is to encourage a greater number of visible minorities, women and Aboriginal persons to become firefighters. This new curriculum has been approved by the OFM/OAFC Endorsement Review Board (ERB), the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and Ontario Credential Validation Service (CVS).

The first class to study under the new curriculum started in September 2010, with 34 students, including male and female students who represent a number of different minority groups. The diversity participation rate for the class, 77 per cent, is above the current rate across Greater Toronto Area community colleges. Of those students, 21 (61 per cent) were Toronto residents. The group graduates today, August 11.

Centennial College President Ann Buller and City of Toronto Fire Chief Stewart will address the graduates at the ceremony today 9 a.m. They will also sign a memorandum of agreement to hold the second Centennial College class.

This is the second noteworthy award to be received by Toronto Fire Services this year. In May 2011, Toronto Fire Services received the Toronto City Manager’s Award for Public Service Excellence for its inter-divisional project with Toronto Employment & Social Services and Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation to identify and address economic disadvantage as a potential barrier to the firefighter application process through an enhanced career preparation course.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
David Sheen
Division Chief, Staff Services, Toronto Fire Services

Stephan Powell
District Chief, Toronto Fire Services



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