October 9, 2010
P.O. Box 129, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling, Ontario, P0B 1J0
Muskoka Lakes’ fire services have been in the news recently. The following information is
shared to provide factual context.
Key Facts: Muskoka Lakes Fire Department
Muskoka Lakes is working with our firefighters to ensure that our communities are well
protected and that participation in our fire service is both safe and rewarding.
• The department has 7 districts and 10 stations with a roster of 126 active firefighters.
Firefighters identify themselves as being active and able and, with their District Fire Chiefs,
are responsible for ensuring that we have up-to-date information. We share changes with
the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office as they occur.
• The Fire Marshal’s office has confirmed that our roster is current and sufficient for our
needs. At the Walkers Point/Torrance Station, we have 15 active firefighters on the roster,
not five, as incorrectly stated in some media reports.
• Contingency plans and service agreements with the fire services in neighboring
municipalities were developed in June as a precaution and are in place if needed.
• We have maintained appropriate response times and the number of responders at calls,
thanks to the dedication and service of our many volunteer firefighters.
• To further strengthen our fire service, Council has proposed developing a Fire Master Plan
in 2011 that would review infrastructure, vehicles, staffing and programming to determine
the Department’s needs for the years to come.
• Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal has confirmed that Muskoka Lakes’ fire gear is safe and
meets all equipment requirements.
Investments in Equipment and Facilities
• During the past five years, Muskoka Lakes has increased its Fire Department operating
budget by 50 per cent to improve the safety of our community and our firefighters, including:
o The construction of two new fire stations;
o Renovations to a third fire station to double its capacity;
o The purchase of seven new fire trucks, with an eighth being built; and,
o A new fireboat.
• More recently, Council approved $41,000 in upgrades for the purchase of 28 additional sets
of reliable, safe, ‘bunker gear,’ for a total of 55 new suits in 2010.
• Volunteer firefighters are compensated for their services. Following concerns that were
raised in May of this year, this compensation has increased:
o Effective September 1, 2010, the Township is recognizing its’ volunteer fire fighters
as employees under the Employment Standards Act. As such, they are now eligible
for 4% more pay in lieu of vacation time.
o When attending training courses or using personal vehicles for approved Fire
Department business, firefighters can now claim mileage expenses.
o Benefit programs are being tabled for the incoming Council’s consideration.