WATCH: Fire department working to integrate more women, minorities
The Montreal fire department says it's working on its seven-year plan to recruit more women and members of visible minorities and Indigenous peoples to join their work force that is nearly 98% white and male.
The department presented its action plan this morning to the city's public security commission.
It includes a goal of tripling the number of women and members of visible minorities and indigenous peoples among its employees by 2025.
Right now, out of 2360 employees there are:
• 29 female firefighters (1.2%);
• 24 members of visible minorities (1%);
• 5 members of indigenous peoples (0.2%)
The question that came up the most during the hearing was why the numbers are low in Montreal.
Montreal fire department wants to triple the number of women (1.2%) and members of visible minorities (1%) and indigenous peoples (0.2%) in its workforce by 2025. They presented their diversity action plan this morning to the public security commission. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/P2ZbMAHWIo— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) April 17, 2018
The department acknowledged that other major cities have made more progress: women and members of visible minorities make up:
• 7% of London's (UK) fire department;
• 4.3% in Ottawa;
• 4.5% in Toronto;
• 3% in Vancouver.
The department said the numbers in Montreal reflect those in the rest of the province and couldn't explain why, pointing to recent modern advancements in equipment that is now lighter and makes some of the work less physically arduous.
Department officials said they have to work in tandem with the firefighter training schools to recruit more aggressively and to demystify the profession as well as to make the work environment more welcoming and unifying.
Deputy director of Montreal fire department Richard Liebman says have to work w/ firefighter training schools to recruit more aggressively, promote the profession when it comes to women, visible minorities, indigenous peoples. Also a matter of changing perceptions. #CJAD #polmtl pic.twitter.com/J2g1vTHYMj— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) April 17, 2018