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Extinguishing injustice: growing equity, diversity and inclusion in Canadian fire departments

Keith A. Fredin (Department of Public Safety, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 27 September 2022

Issue publication date: 23 November 2023




This paper evaluates the value and necessity of greater equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in Canadian fire departments. Rather than focussing on changing hiring practices, the paper seeks to highlight how leadership can implement a culture of EDI that will encourage all people to participate.


From a leadership perspective, this paper aims to show how EDI can improve firefighter teamwork and job performance whilst satisfying moral obligations to better represent Canadian communities. Strategies and their limitations for communication and culture change are discussed.


Leaders of Canadian fire departments can utilise organisational change models focussing on improved communication techniques and models to implement cultural changes needed to allow for more EDI. Specific recommendations based on business research into culture change, communication and EDI are outlined.

Practical implications

Recommendations to fire department leadership for cultural changes and communication are provided. Further, strategies and reasoning for why inclusive departments are more effective are given.

Social implications

Creating a more inclusive culture in fire departments will lead to an increase in applications from people who have not typically applied in the past.


There has been little research or recommendations on increasing EDI in Canadian fire departments through cultural changes. Most existing literature is vague and tends to focus on hiring practices over an analysis of internal culture. This article provides analysis of best business practices and applies those to the cultural context of fire departments to promote culture change.



The author is thankful to Ted Herbert, Cathy Adams, Bill Adams, Alex Adams and Aftab A. Mufti.


Fredin, K.A. (2023), "Extinguishing injustice: growing equity, diversity and inclusion in Canadian fire departments", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 283-294.



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