As firefighter training opportunities are expanded across the province, the Ontario Fire College location in Gravenhurst, which has not hosted on-site training since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, will be decommissioned. Ontario Fire College staff will continue to play a leading role in developing training courses.
About 20 people who work at the college and live in the area will be without jobs. The fire college has been around since 1949 with many people who attended sharing memories on social media.
Ontario says it plans to sell off the property that the college is situated on through Ontario Infrastructure. Currently, the Muskoka Regional Centre is in the same program.
The Ontario government says it is strengthening fire safety training across the province by increasing access to on-site and online courses in communities where firefighters serve. Enhancing training opportunities offered through 20 regional training centres will help local fire services better meet the needs of their community and result in cost savings for municipalities.
Building on a regionally connected system of training centres, the Office of the Fire Marshal will deliver fire safety training through a combination of in-person training at regional training centres, online courses, and through contracts with individual fire departments. Expanding local training opportunities will increase capacity for training and reduce the need for municipal fire departments to pay for travel and costs related to overtime and shift backfills.
As part of this plan, the Office of the Fire Marshal is also investing in two mobile units that will bring live fire training to local fire services. Specialized equipment will also be made available to regional training centres so training can be specifically tailored to local needs.