St. Martins, New Brunswick, May 31, 2012

Archived - Harper Government Continues to Support Volunteer Firefighters

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, along with Rodney Weston, Member of Parliament for Saint John, New Brunswick, and a former volunteer fire chief, and the Honourable Rob Moore, Member of Parliament for Fundy Royal, New Brunswick, today praised Canada’s volunteer firefighters and highlighted the Harper Government’s many initiatives to strengthen support for these vital first responders.

Speaking to volunteer firefighters at the St. Martins fire department—an all-volunteer fire station—Minister Flaherty said, “Volunteer firefighters play a critical role in serving their communities, often putting themselves at risk to ensure the safety of their neighbours and the protection of their property. The Harper Government values and salutes firefighters’ courage and commitment.”

“Canada’s diverse and vibrant urban and rural communities are central to our country’s strength,” said Mr. Weston. “Providing greater support to volunteer firefighters, who play a critical role in towns and cities across Canada, will help enhance the safety, security and prosperity of those communities.”

Minister Flaherty noted several actions the Government has taken to support volunteer firefighters, including the Economic Action Plan 2011 announcement of a 15-per-cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $3,000, effective for the 2011 and subsequent taxation years, for volunteer firefighters who perform at least 200 hours of service for their communities during a year.

“The Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit is another example of our Government delivering concrete results to Canadians to ensure that they get to keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Mr. Moore.

The Income Tax Act exempts the first $1,000 in honoraria provided by municipalities to emergency service volunteers. Depending on which is most advantageous in any given situation, a volunteer firefighter can choose between the new tax credit and the existing exemption. The Act also permits all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteers, including volunteer firefighters, to be fully reimbursed on a non-taxable basis.

Minister Flaherty also cited Budget 2007, which earmarked $500,000 per year for the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Hazardous Materials Training Program and is available to all first responders, including volunteer firefighters.

For further information, media may contact:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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