Tax credit announced for volunteer firefighters, search and rescue staff

Volunteer firefighters and search and rescue members will get a $3,000 tax credit, the B.C. government announced Saturday.

The province plans to introduce the tax credit — which would provide a benefit of up to $151.80 each year — as part of the 2017 budget.

article continues below

“These local heroes leave the comfort of home to rush out into often dangerous and unpredictable conditions, in every type of environment, to provide a beacon of hope to both those lost and to the families waiting at home,” Emergency Preparedness Minister Naomi Yamamoto said in a statement, calling the tax credit “a small token of thanks.”

Subject to legislative approval, the new tax credit will be available for volunteers who provide at least 200 hours of service to a volunteer fire department, an eligible search and rescue organization or a combination of both. Combined with a similar federal credit, volunteers may be eligible for up to $601.80 in non-refundable credits each year.

“Many small communities in B.C. rely heavily on volunteer firefighters and search and rescue groups to provide protection and assistance in times of need,” said Bob Stevens, president of the Volunteer Firefighters Association of BC.

B.C. Search and Rescue Association president Chris Kelly pointed to the cost members incur to buy personal protection equipment and clothing.

According to the association, there are 2,500 volunteers in 80 search and rescue groups in B.C. who respond to more than 1,400 incidents each year. In 95 per cent of cases, subjects are found or rescued within the first 24 hours.

There are about 4,500 volunteer firefighters in B.C.

On March 2, a memorial for B.C. search and rescue volunteers who have lost their lives in the line of duty will be unveiled adjacent to the B.C. Emergency Services Garden of Honour.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist


Find out what's happening in your community.

Most Popular