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Volunteer Firefighters and Search and Rescue PersonnelPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 13th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I have one petition to table today, and it is to support volunteer firefighters, who account for 83% of Canada's total firefighting essential first responders. In honour of these incredible volunteer firefighters, the people of Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek and Port Alberni are calling on the Government of Canada to support the private member's bill, Bill C-201, and increase the tax exemption from $3,000 to $10,000 to help our essential volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue people across the country.

Currently, the tax code of Canada allows volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 tax credit if 200 hours of volunteer services were completed in a calendar year, which works out to about $450 a year that we allow these volunteers to keep regardless of their own income and regardless of their regular jobs.

Volunteer Firefighters and Search and Rescue PersonnelPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 7th, 2021 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to table this petition on behalf of volunteer firefighters in my riding from Hilliers, Dashwood, Coombs, Cumberland, Bowser, Tofino and Ucluelet. They are stating that 83% of Canada's total firefighting essential response is from volunteer firefighters, and 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents every year.

The petition outlines that the tax code of Canada currently allows a volunteer firefighter or a search and rescue person to claim $3,000 in a tax credit if they volunteer for over 200 hours. Essentially, we know that these volunteers not only put their lives on the line and give their time, training and efforts to Canadians, but also allow cities and municipalities to keep their property taxes lower than if paid services were available.

The petitioners are calling on the government to support Bill C-201, a private member's bill that would increase the tax exemption from $3,000 to $10,000 to help our essential volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue people across the country. This would allow them to keep a bit more of their hard-earned money. Right now, the current tax credit works out to a mere $450 per year that we allow these essential volunteers to keep of their own income. This would be a significant change and reward them for the important work they do when we call upon them.

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

November 25th, 2021 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (volunteer firefighting and search and rescue volunteer services).

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Windsor West, for seconding the bill.

Bill C-201 calls on the Government of Canada to increase the tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue responders from $3,000 to $10,000 in the tax code. We know that search and rescue responders and firefighters are on the ground right now in British Columbia doing the important work, helping people at a time of need, which is when they always show up, in difficult crises, such as fires, floods and accidents in our local communities.

These volunteer firefighters account for 83% of Canada's total firefighting essential first responders. Approximately 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents every year.

The tax code of Canada currently allows volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 tax credit if they have completed 200 hours of volunteer services in a calendar year. This works out to about $450 per year that we allow these essential volunteers to keep of their own income from their regular jobs, which is about $2.25 an hour. If they volunteer for more than 200 hours, which many do, this tax credit becomes even less.

These essential workers give their time, training and efforts to Canadians on a voluntary basis, often putting their lives at risk, allowing local governments to keep property taxes lower than if paid services were required. Increasing this tax credit would allow these essential volunteers to keep more of their hard-earned money, likely to be spent in the communities in which they live. Also, an increase in the tax benefit would result in increased volunteer recruitment and retention at a time when volunteerism is decreasing.

I hope all members in the House will show support for the bill and show respect for all those first responders and volunteer firefighters across Canada who put their lives at risk and put themselves behind all of us. We saw the work they did during COVID-19. They were there fo us.

I am thankful for the time to talk about this important bill, and I hope I will get the support of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)