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Some facts on fire and rescue personnel and government

Letter to the Editor,
May 2, 2011 is the date to vote; I do encourage everyone to exercise his or her right and vote!
Unfortunately—many Canadians will not vote—many of us don’t care!
Recently, some of the parties and their members, as well as the fire and rescue service have spoken on the issue of more funding for volunteer/part-time fire and rescue services, and the reasons for it.
Don’t forget, there are fulltime fire and rescue services in Canada, as well as composite services, which consists of fulltime and part-time personnel; there has always been a short fall of funding for these types of services.
There is talk about more police in Canada, but you really don’t here about more fire and rescue personnel being an issue for Canada; it’s an issue!
Municipalities across Canada are having difficulties in recruiting and retaining volunteer/part-time firefighters!
Recently, the Fort Frances Fire and Rescue Service had to hire nine new part-time firefighters, which is basically half of all the part-time firefighters!
As well, five out of eight fire and rescue services west of Fort Frances have to contract out their fire chief’s position!
Meanwhile, the current government of Canada recently proposed a three thousand dollar tax credit for volunteer/part-time firefighters.
Other parties like the Liberals have talked about this already! It was the Liberals that got us fire and rescue people the one thousand dollar tax credit back in 2005.
NDP member’s have talked about getting more money for volunteer fire and rescue services, but may have forgot to include the fulltime fire and rescue services in Canada, as well as composite services.
The only volunteer/part-time firefighter’s who will qualify for this tax credit will be the ones who serve more than 200 hours a year.
According to the CAFC (Canadian Volunteers Fire Services Association), volunteer firefighters give their communities an average of 443 hours of service—the equivalent of 60 works days—a year!
More than 3,200 Canadian communities are protected by volunteer/part-time fire and rescue services.
As well, more that 78 percent of Canada’s 108,000 plus firefighters are volunteer/part-time.
If my past annual fire and rescue training and response hours have any bearing, I will come very close to qualify for this credit.
However, there will be many volunteer/part-time fire and rescue service members across Canada that will not benefit from the tax credit. As well, there will be many members who will.
Keep in mind the term volunteer is used very loosely; you really cease to become a volunteer firefighter when you receive any financial compensation—even tax breaks in any form such as: an hourly-wage or year-end honorarium.
I’m working towards twenty-five years as being a member of the fire and rescue service.
In that time, I served on a real volunteer fire and rescue service for eight years.
I received no financial compensation whatsoever, as I ended up shelling out money to be a member back then.
The wear and tear on my clothes, and vehicle came out of my own pockets.
The cost of travel to fire and rescue calls, as well as training out of town, all came out of my own pockets.
No honorarium of any kind existed.
-Tyler J. Moffitt