IAFF grows with new affiliates in Ontario, British Columbia

December 26 • 2023

The IAFF is welcoming new locals in Loyalist Township, Ontario and View Royal and Colwood, B.C.

Loyalist Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 5464, which serves the communities of Amherstview, Amherst Island, Odessa, and Bath in Loyalist Township west of Kingston, joins with seven members including four suppression fire fighters, two fire inspectors, and an emergency vehicle technician.

Local 5464 President Jeremy Franklin said he was pleased to be joining the IAFF and is looking forward to negotiating their first fire fighter-specific contract. Because the township’s first full-time fire department employees were not fire fighters, they were grouped with other municipal workers in the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

But as full-time fire fighters came on board in the fast-growing municipality of 20,000, a desire for representation from a fire fighter union developed. The employer and CUPE both agreed to transition the fire department’s full-time employees to the IAFF, and the affiliation became official on Dec. 6.

“I think our local’s going to be very happy to have a contract that’s 100-per-cent fire relevant,” said Franklin. “I think it’s a good thing for the township too that we can support them and the growing needs of the community.”

13th District Vice President Fred LeBlanc, who oversaw the organizing process, said he was pleased to welcome them into the IAFF family and looks forward to helping the local move forward as an IAFF affiliate.

“I credit CUPE for their cooperation and support as well as the Township of Loyalist,” he said.

Earlier this year, the IAFF welcomed two new affiliates in B.C.; View Royal Local 5419 with five members and Colwood Local 5420 with eight members.

British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association (BCPFFA) Secretary-Treasurer Brian Catinus, who assisted in organizing the two Vancouver Island locals, said both groups of fire fighters were previously unrepresented and are now enjoying being part of the IAFF and the BCPFFA.

“They’re happy. We’re currently bargaining their first collective agreements and they’re starting to see the broader IAFF community they’re a part of now that they’ve joined.”

Colwood Local 5420 President Kyle Smith said going from being unrepresented to being in a labour union has been eye-opening. The support he has received since the local joined in April has been incredible, he added, noting that congratulations and offers of support from other IAFF locals came in from as far away as Alberta.

“It’s been very helpful to be able to lean on these individuals, and the support and information sharing available has been a very positive experience for us.”

With the new affiliations, the IAFF has 29,341 members in 195 locals across Canada, with additional organizing initiatives ongoing.