moved for leave to introduce Bill C-264, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (volunteer firefighting and search and rescue volunteer services).
Mr. Speaker, volunteer firefighters account for 83% of Canada's total firefighting essential first responder calls. In addition, 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents every year. I am proud today to rise and present my private member's bill to extend tax credits currently available to volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers.
We know that many volunteer emergency responders already hold full-time jobs. They continue to volunteer and demonstrate enormous sacrifices within their communities to keep us safe. In many cases they put their lives at risk. They could be running into a burning home to rescue someone or searching for a missing neighbour or friend they know personally.
Especially now, with an increasing number of first responder calls and the evergrowing opioid crisis, their critical role in society is even more important. This bill is the least we can do. Across the country, with the ever-increasing cost of living, local departments are struggling to recruit new volunteers to meet the needs of their communities. Extending tax credits would demonstrate that the federal government supports the work of local fire departments and search and rescue detachments and it would show appreciation for the future work of dedicated volunteers. When volunteers have our backs in times like these, it is essential that we have theirs.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)