Fire­fighter cal­en­dar too hot for St. Kitts

Toronto Star - - NEWS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.”

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