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Fire Service, Black Community Develop New Recruitment Program
(Thursday, May 8/2003)-- Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service has launched a new recruitment program, aimed at attracting more candidates from the African-Canadian communities in the region, Chief Mike Eddy announced this morning.
A partnership has been developed with members of the Black Community Workgroup of Halifax Co-operative Limited, Watershed Association Development Enterprises, the African Canadian Employment Clinic and the YMCA Enterprise Centres to develop and promote this initiative in conjunction with current black firefighters and other HRM representatives.
Chief Eddy said African Canadian candidates will be pre-screened to attend the Nova Scotia Fire Fighter's School in 2004. Once they have successfully completed their training, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service guarantees to hire them as firefighters. Financial support to attend the Fire School will be provided by HRM, and will be repaid by the candidate through payroll deductions once hired. All pre-screening costs will be absorbed by Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service.
Since 1996, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service has made efforts to attract African- Canadians to train as firefighters. Information sessions were held at the Black Cultural Centre, assistance/support was provided by the African Canadian Employment Clinic, and a list of black communities/contacts was developed and used to promote the career of firefighting. Also , a school-work place program was implemented and an innovative hiring process was implemented in 1997. Despite these efforts, there are still only seven African-Canadian firefighters employed by Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services.
Chief Eddy said "The Fire and Emergency Service wants to comply with the true spirit of Halifax Regional Municipality's Employment Equity Policy, as well as create a workplace which is representative of the community we serve. Therefore, it is necessary to take special measures to address systemic attitudinal barriers and increase representation."
HRF&E Service's black firefighters and representatives of management will be going out into the black community in this Spring and Fall, making presentations to outline the entrance requirements and the job responsibilities. Other outreach initiatives, such as open houses, will also be offered.
The Regional Fire and Emergency Service will also be conducting a general recruitment process in October this year.
Chief Mike Eddy
Director, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service