October 3, 2019

New Conservative government to make it easier for volunteers to qualify for tax credits recognizing their service

A new Conservative government will allow more search and rescue volunteers and volunteer firefighters to qualify for tax savings, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced today.

“Communities across Canada rely on volunteers for essential services like fire protection and search and rescue,” Scheer said. “These are people of courage, character, and strength who step up when their neighbours need it most, often at significant personal expense. A new Conservative government will recognize this service and sacrifice by making it easier for them to qualify for tax savings so they can get ahead.”

A new Conservative government will put more money back in the pockets of these hometown heroes by reducing the number of service hours required to qualify for federal tax credits from 200 to 150 hours per year.

Volunteers often pay out-of-pocket for equipment, uniforms, transportation, training, and insurance – costs that run into the thousands of dollars.

Volunteers will continue to receive a $450 rebate every year. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that lowering the number of required hours by 50 will allow more than 5,000 additional volunteers to apply for and receive these benefits.

Scheer made today’s announcement in New Brunswick, where volunteer search and rescue teams have been active for more than 35 years. Upper Kingsclear also relies on volunteer firefighters for its protection, several of whom were on hand for today’s announcement.

 “A new Conservative government will live within its means and put more money back in your pockets – for you, for your family, and your retirement,” Scheer said.

FACTS:

  • Last year, the National Fire Protection Association reports that of the 152,650 local firefighters in Canada from 2014-16, 126,650 (83 per cent) were volunteers. That same report found that of 3,672 fire departments in Canada, 3,061 are all-volunteer.
  • The Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) says 9,000 volunteers serve on 300 search and rescue teams across the country. All told, these volunteers contribute more than 600,000 hours of training, administration, and searches each year.
  • The previous Conservative government introduced the Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit in Budget 2011 and the Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit in Budget 2014.
  • In 2016, nearly 43,000 individuals claimed the Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit and 4,800 individuals claimed the Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit.
  • Justin Trudeau has done nothing with these tax credits and nothing for these volunteers.