Five Canadian firefighters are in hot water after it was discovered they were volunteering in community volunteer fire services, despite their full-time fire unions forbidding the practice.

One such firefighter is Toronto-area firewoman Mandy Gould, who served as a volunteer for thirteen years and has been a full-time firefighter for eleven.

When it was discovered that she and four others were involved in moonlighting as volunteers (who get a very small sum for each call), the Association of Fire Fighters came down on them for violation policies that forbid “double hatting.”

“It’s a violation of our constitution – and they’ve all admitted to it in that room here today,” said Dan VanderLelie, Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association 4th District vice-president, who attended Monday’s hearing. “So we will have to wait for the trial board to render its verdict.”

However, the five firefighters don’t see it that way, despite the fact that they are facing a tribunal.

“I was born and raised in Caledon, so being able to give back to the community that raised you gives you a sense of well-being, of fulfilment, of commitment to the community,” Gould said. “For someone to dictate what I do in my spare time is really hard for me to digest.”

“It’s a family,” her husband, Dan Venafro, said. “She watched her dad do it for 25 years, getting up at Christmas dinner, at Thanksgiving, at birthday parties, at 2 in the morning.”

The hearing is expected to continue, according to The Globe and Mail. In the meantime, tensions remain high at the fire hall.

 

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