The Province intends to introduce a new tax credit for B.C.’s volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers as part of Balanced Budget 2017, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto and Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.
Subject to legislative approval, thousands of volunteers throughout the province may soon be eligible for a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit, providing a benefit up to $151.80 each year.
The new tax credit will be available for volunteers who provide at least 200 hours of volunteer service to a volunteer fire department, an eligible search and rescue organization or a combination of both. The credit will be available for the 2017 tax year.
“We are fortunate in B.C. to have thousands of skilled and dedicated volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers who risk their lives and contribute their time to keep us safe,” said de Jong. “I think I speak on behalf of all British Columbians when I say, we appreciate the work these individuals do, and this tax credit is just one of the small ways we can express our gratitude.”
On March 2, 2017, the Province of B.C. along with the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA), Provincial Emergency Program Air (PEP AIR), and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) will unveil a memorial for search and rescue volunteers in British Columbia who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and to honour all those that serve. This monument will sit adjacent to the newly unveiled B.C. Emergency Services Garden of Honour, and existing memorials dedicated to British Columbia’s fallen Law Enforcement officers, Fire Fighters, and Paramedics.
- According to the BC Search and Rescue Association, there are 2,500 volunteers in 80 search and rescue groups in B.C.
- These volunteers respond to more than 1,400 incidents each year. In 95% of cases, subjects are found or rescued within the first 24 hours.
- According to the Volunteer Firefighters Association of BC, there are 177 active volunteer fire departments with about 4,500 volunteer firefighters.