In 1984, a dispute with the IAFF fashioned a division of ideals. This division saw many Locals choosing to withdraw from the IAFF in favour of a national representing body known as the Canadian Association of Fire Fighters (CAFF). The result was two provincial associations, the Provincial Federation of Ontario Fire Fighters (PFOFF) and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) representing professional fire fighters in Ontario.
In 1995, the provincial government, then led by Premier Mike Harris, introduced sweeping changes to labour legislation including the total revamping of the Fire Departments Act. This, combined with municipal amalgamation, forced the provincial organizations to look at the advantages of returning to one voice.
The 'new' Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) was formed in October 1997 as a result of two former provincial Associations uniting into one strong Association under the IAFF, representing professional fire fighters in the province.
As an affiliate of the IAFF, we provide Ontario's professional fire fighters with the combined services, resources and efforts of both organizations. This puts our members in the enviable situation of receiving representation at its highest levels.
Since that historic day in October 1997, the OPFFA has grown and continues to establish itself as the body representing Ontario's professional fire fighters at all levels.
Commencing in 2002, the delegates assembled at even year conventions elect te members of the OPFFA's Executive Board to a two-year term of office.
Board members are elected by the membership represented at convention. District Vice Presidents are elected by the locals within their respective Districts while the President, Executive Vice President and the Secretary/Treasurer (new position added in 2006) are elected by the all of the members across the province.
History was made when IAFF Local 4382 (Pearson Airport) voted to affiliate with the OPFFA in October 2009 followed shortly by IAFF Local 1212 (Mississauga) who voted to re-affiliate with the OPFFA in November 2009. This marked the first time since 1983 where all IAFF Locals in Ontario were also affiliated with the OPFFA. The occasion was recognized on November 30, 2009 in Toronto with the Special Convention where per capita was reduced reflecting the new membership size.
The Principal officers (President, Exec. VP and S/T) are elected by a per capita voting basis where the local votes in its previous 12 month average membership size. The seven District V/P's are elected through a proportionate voting system.