Former Whistler Fire Chief John McKearney receives 2022 Canadian Fire Chief of the Year award

Publication Date: September 23, 2022


Fire Chief McKearney served on Whistler Fire Rescue Service from 2018 to 2022

Former Whistler Fire Chief John McKearney is the 2022 Canadian Fire Chief of the Year, according to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, who presented him with the honour in Ottawa this month.

McKearney was recognized for going above and beyond his expected duties while leading the Whistler Fire Rescue Service from 2018 until his retirement in 2022. Shortly after joining the Resort Municipality of Whistler, he was elected President of the CAFC and spent his tenure advocating for policy to advance community and firefighter safety at a national level.

Here in Whistler, McKearney’s tenure saw him provide leadership toward community and firefighter safety through the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying alternate operational approaches for new COVID protocols and helping the department through ongoing change. Throughout this period, he kept constant focus on ensuring the department is also more prepared to deal with both structural and Wildland Urban Interface firefighting.

“I would like to congratulate John and to thank him for his extraordinary work leading the Whistler Fire Rescue Service,” says Mayor Jack Crompton. “Whistler is vulnerable to wildfire and John’s work both for our community, and on a national level, has been critical to further public safety and emergency preparedness.”

Before serving the WFRS, McKearney worked at the Vancouver Fire Rescue Service for 37 years, starting as a firefighter. He later served as lieutenant on the rescue squad and as training officer, before being promoted to deputy chief and on to fire chief with the City of Vancouver.

McKearney has an Honourary Life Membership with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia and the Marie Rogan Lifetime Achievement Award for his service as Director of the Pacific Northwest Preparedness Society.

For more information about WFRS, visit

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