To Provide all Ontario First Nations with a well trained professional organization, to prevent, or safely minimize loss of life and property, from fire and other emergencies, at the highest level within the resources available.
Who We Are
The Ontario Native Fire Fighters Society (ONFFS) was established in 1987 and in September of 1990, (ONFFS) was incorporated. This non-profit organization is designed to promote fire protection, provide training and education with regard to fire prevention, and to co-ordinate activities regarding all aspects and initiatives of the fire services program. The ONFFS has provided fire protection in citizens’ lives and personal and private property through it’s membership’s growth. The ONFFS is committed to this continued growth and it’s increased protection. The increased expertise, in fire fighting and protection of First Nation communities is continuing. However, an effort to increase the capacity further is necessary and essential.
The ONFFS membership at times receive an Operation and Maintenance budget within their own communities which only meets the basic needs of their fire departments with very little left to do anything else with.
The Province of Ontario presently views the First Nations as a Federal responsibility. First Nations do not fall within the Provincial jurisdictions and Statutes. A First Nation fire fighter trained to all levels just as their Non-native counterparts are trained, are not protected against civil liability issues. The Fire Protection and Prevention Act protects Non-native fire fighters only. Federally, there is not an Act or Statute in place to protect First Nation fire fighters other than the insurance coverage premiums paid by the Community. This is the only source of protection available to them. Therefore, the Province has left each First Nation with volunteer fire departments to bring themselves up to the Certification level. The ONFFS are presently helping those First Nation fire fighters to reach this level of competency or a level that is recognized and honored throughout the Ontario Region and across the country.
The ONFFS was able to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario. Through this M.O.U, First Nation fire fighters receive recognition and training (at a cost) from the Ontario Fire College. This is the only way to receive accredited training for First Nation fire fighters. There is also the on-line training provided by the NFPA.
The development of First Nation volunteer fire departments has always had many obstacles in the past and continues to today. Fire departments are constantly being monitored by outside sources for activities which may leave them out of the growth cycle. Because of the limited access to funds, this leaves First Nation fire departments with very little room to improve in regards to capacity building. First Nation fire fighters respond to all types of disasters and fire scenes upon request. There is also a large portion of these fire departments that respond and belong to a Mutual-Aid and Gentlemen Agreements. So, now First Nation Fire departments in Ontario are confronted with outside Liability Issues. What are these liabilities and how do they affect the First Nation Fire Departments associated with these agreements, if any?
The ONFFS, since their incorporation, has been operating on a little to no budget at all. They have been in existence since 1987 and have never received administration funds for operations. The Board continues to operate as a volunteer-based organization and will continue to do so even without the contribution dollars that some other regions do get since the membership believes strongly in the ONFFS.
October 27th, 2009:
Regular Board Meeting (Garden River) - Minutes (PDF)
July 4th, 2008:
ONFFS 18th Annual General Meeting - Minutes (PDF)
March 19th & 20th, 2008:
Annual Fire Prevention Officers Meeting Agenda (PDF)
March 27th & 28th, 2007:
Annual Fire Prevention Officers Meeting Minutes (PDF)