WHEREAS the attraction of and maintaining volunteer emergency responders for rural fire departments and other agencies is increasingly difficult due to time commitments for training and response to incidents, high personal expenses and loss of income from employment due to absences from employment; AND WHEREAS previous attempts to pass a private members bill in the House of Commons have been unsuccessful; AND WHEREAS Rick Casson, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge has seconded an amendment to private members Bill C-273 put forward by Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso which seeks to establish an income tax deduction for volunteer emergency responders in recognition of their contribution to our communities; AND WHEREAS Rick Casson is seeking support from our Association for private members Bill C-273;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities write to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance in support of the passage of Bill C-273.
From a letter dated January 4, 2005 from Rick Casson, MP to the County of Lethbridge, re Private Members Bill C- 273, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act regarding Volunteer Emergency Responders Dear Reeve and Council: Proposed amendments to the Income Tax Act intended to allow volunteer emergency responders a tax deduction against earnings from any source is an issue that has been ongoing for some time. The following is an update on the matter. On December 14, 2004 during the last House of Commons business prior to the year end break, a major step forward occurred when PMB C-273 was debated. The bill introduced by Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner of Cape Breton-Canso, was similar but with slight detail differences from PMB C-241 which I had tabled earlier this year. As Mr. Cuzners bill came up first for debate I approached him on the possibility of making some amendments to his proposed legislation to closer reflect what I had put forward. We were able to agree on this approach and I seconded the amendment. During debate it became clear that we had all party support for the amended legislation. Under the amended version a volunteer emergency responder will receive a $1,000 tax deduction from any income earned after completing a minimum of 100 hours of documented service, including call outs and training. It also includes a $2,000 tax deduction after completing a minimum of 200 hours of service, including active duty or training. I am extremely excited about this development as all parties concerned put the issue of volunteers ahead of partisan party politics, ensuring a move forward on this important legislation. During the previous sitting of Parliament, a very similar bill I had pushed to a. vote was defeated 96 to 93. The current bill before the House is somewhat different than my last effort, which has allowed all parties to show support. Bill C-273 in its amended form now drops to the bottom of the order paper and will take a month or two to make its way back for the second hour of debate and vote. Therefore, it is critical volunteer emergency responders across Canada express their opinion on this initiative to their Member of Parliament, the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister. I am urging all members from volunteer brigades across Canada to write to the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister (addresses attached) with copies to their own MP and myself. We must leave no doubt that recognizing this courageous, unselfish group of Canadians is long past due. … Lets all get together to make this proposed amendment a reality. Sincerely, Rick Casson, MP Correspondence should be directed to: The Right Hon. Paul Martin Prime Minister of Canada Rm 313 – S Centre Block House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A OA6 The Hon. Ralph Goodale Finance Minister Room 607 Confederation Building Ottawa, ON KIA OA6 Rick Casson, MP 255 8th St. S Lethbridge, AB T1J 4Y1
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
In April 2005, the AAMDC wrote the Prime Minister, the federal finance minister and MP Rick Casson in support of Bill C-273. This bill died on the order paper.