Volunteer Fire Fighters

Res #: 30-10M
Number: 30
Year: 2010
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

WHEREAS the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has estimated that 91% of all Canadian communities are protected by Volunteer Fire Departments and that more than 78% of the 108,000 fire fighters protecting Canadian communities are volunteers;

WHEREAS these volunteers give endless hours of service to their communities for little or no compensation; and

WHEREAS it is becoming difficult to recruit or retain these members for the protection of our communities;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Federal Government, along with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, to implement a $3000 income tax credit for volunteer firefighters who volunteer 100 or more hours, in emergency response as well as training, to their communities during the tax year.

Response from Honourable James M. Flaherty, Minister of Finance:

I am pleased to tell you that Budget 2011 proposes a 15-percent, non-refundable Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit on an amount of $3,000 for volunteer firefighters. This Credit will be available to volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 hours of service for their communities during the year.

The Income Tax Act (ITA) also recognizes the vital role played by emergency service volunteers by exempting the first $1,000 in honoraria provided by public authorities (municipalities) to emergency service volunteers. The ITA also permits all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteers, including emergency service volunteers, to be fully reimbursed on a non-taxable basis.

Eligible volunteer firefighters who receive honoraria in respect for their duties as volunteer firefighters will be able to choose between the new tax credit and the existing tax exemption of up to $1,000 for honoraria.