Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Image: Tara Clow

Positive response to proposed firefighter tax credit legislation

By Tara Clow Apr 2, 2024 | 1:40 PM

A new provincial tax credit for volunteer firefighters is positive news, according to the Riverview Fire and Rescue chief.

Recently introduced legislation will see a maximum annual provincial non-refundable tax credit of $470 for those completing the required number of hours.

Chief Robin True says this covers at least 200 hours of service.

“Typically, that includes responding to calls, meetings and training and an active volunteer firefighter typically would not have a lot of problems in reaching 200 hours. I would say 250 to 300 hours is pretty standard.”

True adds that a provincial tax credit is fairly standard across several provinces including Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

“We’ve been looking for it to help with volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention,” says True.

He adds according to the annual firefighter census through the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs completed in 2023, there were 14,591 vacancies for volunteer firefighters, which is around a 12 per cent vacancy rate.

“There’s a number of factors, partly including the general aging of the volunteer firefighter force. We’ve had several firefighters that have aged out of the fire service and it’s trying to plan a course to replace those people on the other end who are coming in. There’s a lot of demand certainly in today’s families for people’s time, and it’s a great commitment to be a volunteer firefighter,” True says.

Riverview Fire and Rescue currently has 28 volunteer firefighters.

“Volunteer firefighters and search and rescue personnel are two vital groups we often count on in times of critical need,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “We understand that recruitment and retention is key for both of these services, and it is our hope that these proposed tax credits will help bring in and keep more of these valuable public safety volunteers.”

Beginning with the 2024 taxation year, the tax credits would be provided to those who perform at least 200 hours of eligible service in a year. Those hours could be combined between the two volunteer positions, however, a person could only claim one of the two credits.

“The responsibilities of firefighters, for example, have expanded greatly and they are often on the scene for car crashes, medical calls, overdoses, off-road rescues and forest fires,” said Steeves.