Session: Walking the Talk-Canada’s Fire Chiefs and a Fire Service for All

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) is the national association representing the
country’s fire departments through chief fire officers and senior leaders in emergency
management. In 2017, the CAFC asked its National Advisory Council which consists of all
provincial and territorial Chiefs Association and National Affiliate Organizations, the top three
issues of concern to them: Building Codes, Mental Health, and Diversity and Inclusion. This led
the CAFC Board to espouse a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with gender
representation among its first areas of focus. This commitment has been reshaping the national
association. Organizations like Fire Service Women Ontario (FSWO), and the Alberta Fire
Emergency and Wildfire Management Women (AFEW) have been instrumental partners. In
2018, the CAFC elected its first woman board member and established the Women Chiefs and
Company Officers Network of Canada. In 2019, the association held its first symposium to
develop an action plan towards a “Fire Service for All” which has recently been released.
Members were asked to imagine the fire service of the future and what would be required to
get there. In this presentation, Board Member Chief Keri Martens and Diversity and Inclusion
Co-Chair, Laurie VandeSchoot and Executive Director Tina Saryeddine will speak to the recently
released action plan that is being implemented to help make a “Fire Service for All” in the
context of the broader work of the CAFC in the fire sector.


Presenters: Keri Martens, Laurie VandeSchoot, Tina Saryeddine

Keri Martens

Keri Martens has been chief of the Lake Louise Fire Department for over 15 years and was elected to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs board in 2018.  She had joined the fire department in 1999 looking for a volunteer opportunity. She immediately fell in love with the job and has been with the department ever since.  Keri has been recognized for her service to the community by the Office of the Fire Commissioner of Alberta with the Alberta Emergency Services Award and was awarded the YWCA 2017 Bow Valley Women of Dis'nc'on Award. Keri has just completed her Masters of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management from Royal Roads University. 


Tina Saryeddine

Tina Saryeddine is the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, an organization that has represented Canada's Fire Chiefs since 1909. She and the CAFC welcome collaborations with graduate students who are interested in research to practice, federal policy making, emergency management, and inter organizational relationships in both the health and first responder and national emergency systems. Tina is available as a co-supervisor or committee member and is pleased to have MHA and MSc placements with her organization. Her organization also has a number of exciting projects for residencies, term projects, and graduate placements either for MHA or MBA students as well as undergrads.


Laurie VandeSchoot

Experienced Deputy Fire Chief with a demonstrated history of working in the public service sector. Skilled in Performance Improvement, Coaching, Government Service Delivery, Emergency Management, Incident Command, Project Management, Strategic Initiatives, and Sustainability. Strong community and protective services professional with a Master of Science (MSc) focused in Sustainable Development from Wageningen University and Research.