Increase to firefighter remuneration considered as part of 2018 budget

The RDCK is considering increased remuneration for firefighters.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is considering increased remuneration for firefighters to better reflect higher levels of responsibility, training and commitment that volunteer firefighters are required to meet.

Options for increasing remuneration will be reviewed by the Board as part of the 2018 Budget process.

“Day after day, volunteer firefighters are the first to respond to emergency situations with remarkable courage and dedication,” said Karen Hamling, Chair of the RDCK Board of Directors. “They take time away from their own families to make sure ours are protected. The RDCK Directors feel they should be fairly compensated for the time and effort they devote to this critical work.”

The RDCK currently has more than 400 volunteer firefighters who work out of 18 fire departments across the region. Each Director is responsible for setting their own remuneration budgets for their fire services, in consultation with their Fire Chief(s). This has lead to a lack of consistency in remuneration across the RDCK. The costs for training, call-outs, on-call requirements and salaries and stipends vary from fire hall to fire hall.

In November 2016, the Central Kootenay Regional Fire Chiefs Association (CKRFCA), which represents the fire departments in the RDCK, brought forward a request for the review of remuneration policies for firefighters. This was prompted in part by changes made by the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner to minimum levels of training and competency for firefighters in its Structure Firefighters Competency and Training Playbook (the “Playbook”).

“Ten years ago, fire departments were staffed by volunteers who spent a few hours a week training in addition to their time spent attending emergency calls,” said Stuart Horn, Chief Administrative Officer for the RDCK. “The landscape is very different today. Volunteer firefighters now spend six to eight hours per week training, and are required to meet the same standards as career firefighters. The volume of calls to our fire departments has also been increasing, putting additional demand on our professional volunteers.”

The remuneration increase proposed by the CKRFCA in 2016 was addressed in part by some remuneration budgets being increased in 2017.

The issue of firefighter remuneration was brought forward again as the Board initiated its 2018 Budget process. The Board has considered an analysis of options of firefighter remuneration prepared by staff. This included an analysis of what impact the different options being considered would have on taxpayers — with due consideration for the distinct needs of each fire service area, the tax impact, and the limits of service bylaws — and how those impacts would vary in different communities. The decision was to leave each Director to set a remuneration budget in 2018 and to work towards a Regional District-wide policy on remuneration for 2019.

“The goal of implementing a remuneration policy for the RDCK firefighters is not only to compensate current firefighters for their time and effort but also to allow fire departments to be better positioned to attract and retain firefighters into the future,” said Mr. Horn. “There are some fire department budgets that will be increasing in 2018 due to the additional remuneration costs, resulting in tax increases to our residents. I invite members of the public to attend one of the upcoming open budget sessions to provide their feedback, or to speak to their elected representatives.”

For more information about the RDCK fire service or the 2018 Budget process, please visit www.rdck.ca.

Facts about firefighter remuneration

· In 2014, the total remuneration budget for the Regional District Fire Service was $300,824. In 2017, that same budget was $447,100, an increase of 49 per cent over three years, reflecting the level of commitment that elected officials have to their firefighters.

· The cost of fire service varies substantially in the RDCK based on the assessments of each fire service area. In 2017, the cost ranged from $0.31/$1,000 of assessment to $1.45/$1,000.

· Prior to 2018, remuneration for the majority of firefighters was based on an annual stipend amount for the more senior individuals in each department. The policy considered for 2019 will move towards an hourly wage for training and call-out time.

Just Posted

Castlegar Mayor, area residents react to referendum defeat

Chernoff says proponents did “all they could” to push for project’s approval

Area I rejects recreation complex expansion proposal: referendum defeated

Enhancement plan wins overall vote, but was lost in one polling station

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Head of ‘Yes’ campaign says RDCK money used properly in referendum

Elections BC has no problems with third parties doing educational and promotional work in a campaign

Work begins on final phase of skatepark

Volunteers needed to help plant shrubs and trees on Saturday and Sunday

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read