Upcoming Regulatory Changes Causing Concern For LaSalle Fire

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is looking to improve transparency when it comes to the way fire departments conduct business.

LaSalle Fire Chief Dave Sutton says, while it's a move in the right direction, many of the proposed changes could have major financial impacts on smaller, volunteer departments across the province.

Sutton says the ministry is requesting mandatory reporting of response times, which will be costly for departments, as dispatch software will have to be upgraded. 

He says the changes favour larger, urban departments. "There are sections in those standards that address full-time, career departments based on population density criteria. That criteria is absent in the proposed draft. So the reporting criteria that's being proposed doesn't really represent our response model."

Sutton says LaSalle isn't the only department raising concerns. "I would suspect the majority of the municipalities and some of our professional organizations, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, have raised similar concerns and expressed the need for similar amendments that kind of echo our comments."

The province is looking to adopt the National Fire Protection Association's standards as best practices and has stated it would like to have the new regulations in place by 2020.

LaSalle has joined several other municipalities across the province asking for an extension while a more comprehensive review is performed.