+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 1-24S

Declining Fire Department Services Across Rural Alberta

April 1, 2024
Expiry Date:
February 28, 2027
Active Status:
Smoky Lake County
5 - Edmonton East
Emergency Services
Sent to Government
Vote Results:

WHEREAS the state of declining fire department services across rural Alberta is detrimental to all Albertans living or visiting outside of large urban centers; and

WHEREAS provincial Fire Services Training Program funding increases are necessary for rural firefighter training; and

WHEREAS the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) current volunteer firefighter tax credit of $3,000 is inadequate and the CRA’s definition of “volunteer firefighter” is obsolete; and

WHEREAS businesses that employ volunteer firefighters do not currently receive a tax credit for doing so; and

WHEREAS the Fire Underwriter’s Survey assigns “Front Line” status to firefighting apparatus and equipment used in both urban and rural communities for 15 years; and

WHEREAS the Government of Canada’s former Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) for fire/emergency training and equipment is no longer available;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta to collaborate with the Government of Canada and Fire Underwriters Survey to assist municipalities to retain fire services by recruiting firefighters and addressing the declining fire department services across rural Alberta.

Member Background:

The Government of Alberta (GOA) reinstated the Fire Services Training Program grant (FSTP) in 2022, providing a maximum grant of $10,000 per application. The grant is to financially assist municipalities to ensure fire services are adequately trained to address the community’s risks and levels of service. Increasing the overall program funding of $500,000 is necessary to provide all municipalities opportunities to receive this funding and not rely on their municipal operational budget.

Rural municipalities are struggling to recruit and retain volunteer paid on-call firefighters. The tax credit would show firefighters respect for all those making sacrifices to keep us safe, this incentive will assist with their finically burdens by the return of money earned.

The tax credit is a way to support the important work the fire departments do and help retain members to allow the municipalities to maintain their current levels of service.

The Fire Underwriter’s Survey insurance determines the fire protection rating based on the number of firefighters, age and capabilities of the apparatus. The Fire Underwriter’s Survey insurance currently recognizes fire apparatus to only have a 15-year cycle and recommends to replace the fire apparatus every 15 years not to jeopardize the fire protection rating. If the municipalities do not comply when the level of maturity is reach of the life cycle, the fire protection rating decreases therefore increasing property insurance rates.

The Government of Canada cut the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) in 2013. The JEPP was used to fund major capital purchases for the fire department. A modernized JEPP would reduce deferred equipment purchases due to fiscal pressures. This grant imperative as the longer these purchases are deferred the higher the risk and purchase prices.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Back to Resolutions Database