TRANSITION TO NFPA PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS: NEXT STEPS IN REGARD TO IMPLEMENTATION OF OFMEM GRANDFATHERING POLICY
July 14, 2016
In January 2014, as part of the transition process from the Ontario Fire Services Standards to the National Fire Protection Association Professional Qualifications (NFPA Pro-Qual) Standards, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) released its grandfathering policy (see Fire Marshal’s Communiqué 2014-04). The policy outlined how grandfathering would be implemented and explained how to obtain a Letter of Compliance with NFPA Standards from the OFMEM.
In 2014 and 2015, the OFMEM processed all application forms for Letter of Compliance with NFPA Standards submitted by municipal fire departments, entered the data from the forms into its database, and mailed the letters of compliance to NFPA standards to fire departments. By submitting an application form, the applicant confirmed that he or she had fulfilled the necessary education/training requirements or experience requirements for the standards/levels selected. Grandfathering was based on the information in the application being approved and validated by the fire chief of the applicant.
Fire departments, with the exception of twenty-three fire departments selected to participate in an audit, have until September 1, 2016, to inform the OFMEM of any errors and omissions. This information should be sent by e-mail to Kalpana Rajgopalan at Kalpana.Rajgopalan@ontario.ca.
The attached letter template can be used by fire chiefs to inform individually members of their respective fire departments of the results of their application to have their education/training and or experience recognized under the OFMEM’s grandfathering policy.
In 2015, twenty-three fire departments received letters from the OFMEM to inform them that they had been randomly selected for an internal audit. These fire departments have until September 30, 2016, to provide appropriate documentation to the OFMEM. Once the necessary documentation has been received and reviewed by the OFMEM, the fire chief will be notified of the results.
The OFMEM implemented grandfathering in order to exempt anyone from having to start over in any program and in order to give recognition for training and education already completed and for experience already gained. Please note that having past training/education and past experience recognized in accordance with the OFMEM grandfathering policy does not equate to satisfying all requirements of an OFMEM certification program or bypassing the process to obtain certification, a seal from the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or a certificate from ProBoard.
It has been and continues to be the OFMEM’s intent to recognize the past training accomplishments and capabilities of all Ontario fire service members without compromising the certification system or granting certification levels beyond a person’s training, experience and qualifications. Fire service members who enrol in one of the OFMEM’s certification programs (now based on NFPA standards) must fulfill mandatory requirements for that program.
Enrolling in a certification program is voluntary and does not affect what was granted under the grandfathering policy and stated in the letters of compliance with NFPA standards.
A sheet of questions and answers is attached. Any further questions regarding the OFMEM grandfathering policy and letters of compliance with NFPA standards should be sent by e-mail to Kalpana Rajgopalan at Kalpana.Rajgopalan@ontario.ca.