Feb. 4, 2009, Ottawa - The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has expressed disappointment that last week's federal budget did not recognize that supporting the Canadian Fire Services should be regarded as an economic imperative deserving urgent attention.
February 4, 2009 By Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs
"The fire services are crucial underpinnings of the Canadian economy. By
protecting businesses, property and lives, we are an integral part of the
economic infrastructure of Canada” said Calgary Fire Chief Bruce Burrell.
“We regret that the federal government has opted not to deal with measures
that CAFC has long been advancing to enhance the ability of the fire services to
better serve and protect Canadian communities and the country as a whole, “ he
“CAFC accepts that priorities must be set while the current economic crisis
is addressed. At the same time, we seek assurance from the government that
personal income tax relief for volunteer firefighters and increased funding
under the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program will be dealt with in the near
future,” Burrell said.
Ninety-one per cent of all Canadian communities are protected by volunteer fire departments. The economic base of these towns and villages is mostly made
up of small, family owned businesses. The limited financial resources of these
enterprises make them particularly vulnerable in the current economic downturn.
Their decline or failure as a result of fire or other disaster would seriously
erode municipal tax and employment bases. The volunteer fire services are the
first line of defence for these businesses and their municipalities.
The fire services are a major component of Canada’s public safety and
security infrastructure. Enhanced funding of them by the federal government
should be viewed as a meaningful investment in infrastructure building and
support, Burrell emphasized.
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