Tax credit offered for volunteer searchers, firefighters

Volunteers with 200 hours of service get a tax credit worth up to $150 a year

The BC Liberal government is adding a provincial tax credit to its pre-election budget for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue members, worth up to $150 a year.

Volunteers who put in 200 hours a year for search and rescue, firefighting or both would be eligible for the tax credit, starting this year. Combined with a federal tax credit, volunteers would receive about $600 a year in tax breaks for their efforts.

“These local heroes leave the comfort of home to rush out into often dangerous and unpredictable conditions, in every type of environment, to provide a beacon of hope to both those lost and to the families waiting at home,” said Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for emergency preparedness, making the announcement in North Vancouver Saturday.

Bob Stevens, president of the Volunteer Firefighters Association of B.C., said the tax credit is welcome recognition for people who in many cases receive no compensation for their effort and personal expense.

“Many small communities in B.C. rely heavily on volunteer firefighters and search and rescue groups to provide protection and assistance in times of need,” Stevens said.

Yamamoto said in an interview the tax credit will cost the province about $1 million a year, in addition to the $5 million a year currently provided for training and materials and $9 million in the current fiscal year to compensate volunteer organizations for fuel, helicopters and other expenses.

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association has 2,500 volunteers in 80 groups in the province. The Volunteer Firefighters Association of B.C. has 177 active volunteer fire departments with about 4,500 volunteer members.

The B.C. government is set to unveil a monument to search and rescue volunteers on the grounds of the B.C. legislature on March 2.

Just Posted

Couple stranded on sandbar in Mission Creek

Rescue personnel are on the scene where two people had their dinghy swept away.

Central Okanagan EDC boss to sit on provincial board

Corie Griffiths elected to Local Government Management Association of B.C. board

Tourism Kelowna adopts sustainability initiative

Responsible to environment key to long-term tourism growth

Kelowna’s mayor ready to run again

Colin Basran is expected to announce a bid for a second term as mayor Thursday

Surprise hot air balloon landings in Kelowna

Balloon with 6 passengers aboard lands on Blondeaux Crescent

MLA pushing province and pharmaceutical to save Vernon woman

Cystic fibrosis patient can’t afford $20,000/month medication she needs to survive

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

RCMP caution boaters after two kids pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning

Both children were given oxygen and taken to hospital

B.C. invests $115M to create 200 new nurse practitioner jobs

Health Minister says 780,000 B.C. residents don’t have a family doctor

Supreme Court rules social housing residents in B.C. deserve rights too

Tenants trying to stabilize their living situations should not face less legal rights than those paying market rates: Judge

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by owners

Update: One injured during shooting at a Penticton residence

Penticton RCMP investigating gunfire incident on Government Street

Most Read