Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Modified Ontario Fire College Calendar Offerings and Additional Training Considerations

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Modified Ontario Fire College Calendar Offerings and Additional Training Considerations

Communiqué 2020-11

June 5, 2020

This communique is in follow up to the memo issued by Assistant Deputy Fire Marshal Guy Degagné on May 29, 2020, which outlined a number of strategies for the resumption of training within the Ontario fire service.

The Office of the Fire Marshal has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak as it evolves and given the level of precautions that need to be taken to ensure the health and safety of staff and fire service members and on the physical distancing advice of public health officials, we have made the decision to further postpone all in-person classes at the Ontario Fire College (OFC) until further notice.

By way of background, paragraph 34(viii) of O. Reg. 82/20, made pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, outlines that fire and emergency services, including the services that support their delivery, are deemed as an essential service. Furthermore, O. Reg. 52/20 (including social restrictions on gatherings of five or more persons) does not apply to those essential services that were not required to close as part of Ontario Regulation 82/20. Therefore, training within the fire service can continue and the OFC will support this through the Regional Training Centre’s (RTC). At the same time, fire departments can also undertake and continue their own training. In both situations, all reasonable precautions must be put in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of participants.

As of June 1st, the OFC has made a number of its course offerings available through the following modes of delivery:

  • Online – This allows training to continue and reduces the need to have rigorous safety precautions put in place as course offerings are fully digitized.
  • Learning Contracts – Allowing the fire service to have access to the OFC courseware, support of OFC instructors, OFC Registrar’s Office and Academic Standards and Evaluation certification examination. The course(s) will be delivered in-house. This will allow a fire department to have more control of the training initiatives while respecting current restrictions due to COVID-19. 
  • Blended Learning – The knowledge requisites portion will be delivered online and the skills portion of the course will be made available as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased to allow for an easier physical learning environment to be operationalized.

In addition, the OFC will work with its affiliated RTC partners to support the creation of a revised course calendar.  This includes supporting any training that was scheduled from June 1st onward, and also supporting any new training requests that may arise at the local level. In considering its own future opening strategy, the OFC has developed a mitigation plan in accordance with advice from public health officials to ensure a safe training environment can be implemented within the RTC framework.  This takes into consideration a number of factors including classroom sizes, practical training strategies and proper screening and monitoring.  Given the diversity of the RTC locations, this mitigation plan can be tailored accordingly to work with each centre so that training can resume as soon as feasible at each of these locations.

I would encourage fire chiefs to work to identify the training needs of their departments and to utilize the course offerings of the OFC and the RTCs. The OFC Registrar’s Office will distribute the modified OFC course offerings via email. If training is preferred in house, the OFC is available to share any of the guidance documents that we have consulted in developing our plans. Although there isn’t a one size fits all approach, there are some common elements that can be adopted across any number of departments.

If you have any questions, please contact the OFC registrar at ApplyOFC@ontario.ca.