May 2nd, 2013

Christine Moore tables bill to support volunteer firefighters

New Democrat MP Christine Moore (Abitibi-Témiscamingue) tabled a bill today to support volunteer firefighters across the country.

The Support for Volunteer Firefighters Act amends the Canada Labour Code to allow volunteer firefighters to miss work if they are called to a fire. Bill C-504 would also protect them from dismissal or other disciplinary measures imposed by employers, without just cause, in the performance of their duties.

“In rural areas, most firefighters do this job in addition to their main job. Recruiting and keeping firefighters in small and medium-sized communities is difficult. It’s also a constant challenge for fire departments to get their forces together between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. because many employers don’t let volunteer firefighters miss work,” said Moore. “This bill enables fire departments to maintain effective response teams at all times and responds to concerns voiced by part-time and volunteer firefighters in rural stations.

Similar legislation already exists in Quebec. Bill C-504 would standardize practices in federal companies in the province and across Canada.

“This bill will make our communities safer by providing the flexibility volunteer firefighters need to respond to emergencies. It’s a responsible and realistic bill that leaves the door open for employers who may have justifiable reasons for not letting an employee leave work. This bill will help small communities across Canada. I hope the Conservatives and Liberals will support our volunteer firefighters through this initiative.”