Fire services in the Municipality of Meaford are split between two fire departments – the Meaford Fire Department (MFD), which covers the eastern part of the Municipality and is wholly owned and managed by the Municipality, and the Inter-Township Fire Department (ITFD), which provides services to the western portion of the Municipality. ITFD has been jointly owned with the Township of Georgian Bluffs, with the Municipality having a 25% stake in the department. It has been managed through an appointed Board of Management consisting of Councillors from both municipalities.

With the Township of Georgian Bluffs, we have negotiated a new agreement to ensure we are providing the most effective fire suppression services to the western part of the Municipality.   

The existing shared ownership would end, re-establishing ITFD as wholly owned by the Township of Georgian Bluffs. The Municipality of Meaford would enter into a fee-for-service agreement for continuing to provide fire suppression services to the western part of the Municipality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Council considering with regard to the Inter-Township Fire Department (ITFD)?
Council is deciding how to best provide fire suppression services to the western part of the Municipality, and whether to change the ownership of the Inter-Township Fire Department. 

ITFD is currently owned by both the Township of Georgian Bluffs (75%) and the Municipality of Meaford (25%). Under the current proposal, the Township of Georgian Bluffs would become the sole owner of ITFD, and the Municipality would pay the Township for fire suppression services.

Why is this proposal being considered?

The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) conducted a review of fire services in the Municipality in 2018. They told Council that they must ensure that the same level of services were provided throughout the Municipality. After that report, Council passed a resolution directing staff to negotiate changes in the existing contract to meet the OFM recommendations, as well as resolving issues identified by the Municipality’s solicitor.

The discussions between the Township of Georgian Bluffs and the Municipality of Meaford have been ongoing since 2018. Council providing additional direction in September 2019 to:

  • Negotiate the sole ownership of the department by Georgian Bluffs; and
  • Develop a fee-for-service fire suppression agreement with the Township.

The proposed arrangement will remove the legal, liability, and governance concerns that have been raised by lawyers for both municipalities. It would also better support the ITFD Fire Chief and staff, while still maintaining the excellent fire suppression service offered by the ITFD.

What will be the impact on fire suppression services in the former Township of Sydenham?

There will be no impact on fire suppression services for all households
currently serviced by ITFD. Calls to 911 will be dealt with in the same manner, with the same firefighters and equipment attending calls. The proposal does not change how services are offered, just how the department is structured.

Council has discussed the ‘closest hall response’ principle, where properties are covered by the fire department that can be on site with fully effective fire suppression equipment the fastest. However, Council gave direction on November 2, 2020 that the new agreement should be based on the existing ITFD coverage area.

Will property owners still get a discount on their insurance due to ITFD’s Superior Tanker Shuttle accreditation?

There will be no change, as your property will still be covered by the Inter-Township Fire Department, who continue to have the Superior Tanker Shuttle accreditation.

What’s the financial impact of the proposal?

The Township of Georgian Bluffs will pay the Municipality for 25% of ITFD’s assets and reserves. The estimated total payment is approximately $850,000. The new fire suppression agreement is expected to save the Municipality approximately $250,000 over the first five year agreement.

The intent is for these funds to be placed in a reserve that is dedicated to future fire service needs in the western part of the Municipality.

How can I find out more?

Come to the Fire Services Open House at Woodford Hall on November 17th, 2020, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Staff, Council and representatives from both Fire Departments will be there to answer questions and receive your feedback for Council.

If you can’t attend the open house, please call or e-mail:

Matt Smith
Clerk/Director of Community Services
519-538-1060 ext. 1115

Rob Armstrong
CAO/Director of Development Services
519-538-1060 ext. 1122

How should I give my opinion on this proposal?
If you’d like to share your thoughts on this change, please contact Council via, or call individual Councillors directly.


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Fire Services
81 Stewart Street, Meaford
Ontario, Canada N4L 1J9
T.: 519-538-1060 ext. 1602
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