Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns in the House of Commons. File photo

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns in the House of Commons. File photo

Courtenay-Alberni MP introduces bill for volunteer firefighters, search and rescue workers

Bill would increase tax credits for volunteers

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns has introduced a Private Member’s Bill that proposes increasing the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers.

Johns introduced Bill C-264 on Thursday, Feb. 3 after thousands of constituents and people across Canada signed a petition calling for the tax credit to be increased. The bill would increase the tax credit for volunteers from $3,000 to $10,000. Under existing tax rules, this equates to about $450 per year, or $2.25 per volunteer hour worked.

“Small towns and cities across the country, including many communities right here in Courtenay-Alberni, depend on volunteers to provide emergency services,” said Johns in a press release. “They’re often putting their lives at risk to pull someone from a burning home or rescue a family friend who has gone missing. Responding to a growing number of first responder calls, including being on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, is causing a strain on local volunteers.”

RELATED: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

Under existing rules, volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers would have to put in at least 200 hours a year with their local fire department or recognized search and rescue organizations to be eligible for the tax credit.

“The cost of living has increased, and local departments are struggling to recruit volunteers to meet the needs of the community,” added Johns. “Increasing tax credits for them shows that the federal government supports the work of local fire departments and search and rescue workers.”

Several fire departments have indicated their support for Johns’ bill.

“The role of a volunteer firefighter has dramatically changed over time, requiring certification and comprehensive skills maintenance,” said Lucas Banton, Fire Chief of the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department. “Increasing this tax credit incentive would positively impact the long term retention of volunteer firefighters, thereby providing the necessary stability and experience in volunteer fire departments.”

“Presenting a bill like this is a privilege,” said Johns. “Providing increased benefits to first responders in our communities is crucial to better support our communities.”

Alberni Valleyfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP locate driver and vehicle, but are asking for video footage

Students from AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni write anti-bullying messages and draw colourful chalk art around their school for national anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY LISA ARBANAS)
Chalk art brightens public walkway on Pink Shirt Day

Students from AW Neill Elementary in Port Alberni write messages of hope

Mary Mason of Owls Path Foundation presents plans for a Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre to Port Alberni city council. The structure pictured in this image is the Copenhagen Opera House. (SCREENSHOT)
Nuu-chah-nulth cultural centre pitched for Port Alberni

Three possible locations put forward for multi-million-dollar centre

An endangered Vancouver Island marmot suns itself on rocks at Mount Washington, near the Comox Valley. Learn more about this endangered species with the Alberni Valley Nature Club. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER, AV NATURE CLUB)
Marmots, underwater mysteries part of Alberni Valley Nature Club lineup

Club kicks off membership drive with series of Zoom chats

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. The art gallery has COVID-19 protective measures in place. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre puts out a call to artists

Port Alberni’s Community Arts Council will hold a pandemic-inspired art exhibit

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read