Firefighter calendar too hot for St. Kitts
ST. CATHARINES, ONT.— An Ontario city is telling its firefighters to turn down the heat on their steamy annual calendar or risk losing municipal backing for the fundraiser.
Every year, members of the St. Catharines Fire Combat Team strip down and flex their muscles for a good cause with proceeds going to charity.
But now local officials say firefighters either have to cover up or not wear their uniforms for the shoot, because municipal resources can’t be used for the publication of bare-chested photos of employees.
Deputy chief administrative officer David Oakes insisted the no shirts, no city services mandate isn’t meant to discourage do-gooding, but to uphold standards of “respect and dignity” in the workplace.
Oakes said the change was prompted by a city employee who complained about a calendar depicting partially undressed women that was displayed in a municipal facility.
While investigating the issue, Oakes said the mostly male firefighters’ calendar was put forward as evidence of a genderbased “double standard,” so the city decided to crack down on skin-baring images of both men and women.
The city doesn’t fund the calendars but allows firefighters to incorporate city-owned property into the photos.
The decision means firefighters are now barred from staging shoots in city firehouses, and cannot include equipment, logos and uniforms into the scene, if they bare skin.
Ryan Madill, the president of the St. Catharines Professional Firefighters Association, said the department has been putting out calendars on-and-off for about 25 years.
In recent years, the calendar has featured topless members of the crew’s combat team, who compete in firefighting-themed athletic contests, and has included a female firefighter, who appeared in a sports bra.
Last year, the team raised $18,000 for mental health services in St. Catharines.
“In today’s world, when everything’s so serious and ridiculous, it’s nice to have something that’s just fun and cheeky,” said Rob Hyndman, president of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association and a multitime calendar model in Sudbury. “Keep the calendars hot.”