The Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst is set to be decommissioned.

The training centre has not been used since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began. When the building is officially decommissioned, it will have served as a training centre for firefighters for over seven decades.

While the college will be closed, the provincial government says staff will continue to “play a leading role in developing training courses.”

Ontario’s government says they are working to strengthen fire safety training in the province by making on-site and online training courses available in the communities where firefighters serve. The plan is to open 20 regional training centres that the government says will help firefighters better meet the needs of their communities and save municipalities money.

The training will be offered through a combination of in-person at regional training centres, online courses and through contracts with individual fire departments. The Office of the Fire Marshal is also investing in two mobile units that will bring “live fire training” to local fire services. That will include specialized equipment which will be used by the regional training centres.

“We have listened to fire services about the need to increase capacity for training courses and modernize the fire training program,” said Ontario Fire Marshal Jon Pegg. “Moving to a blend of online and on-site training offered through regional training centres allows us to provide responsive, high-quality training to fire services across the province.”