District to look at fire pay compensation

72 per cent of the respondents said their commitment would be increased with financial compensation.

The District of Port Hardy will be reviewing fire pay compensation during its 2018 budget discussions.

At a special committee of the whole meeting last month, Director of Corporate Services Heather Nelson-Smith reviewed the results from a compensation survey Port Hardy Fire Rescue had conducted with its volunteers.

The highlights from the survey are as listed:

18 out of 28 (64 per cent) Fire Department Members took the survey;

Respondents want to see the association fees kept at the same rate even if there is paid-on-call;

Most of the respondents want to see some form of compensation, however there was some dissatisfaction with the rate being presented at $10.00/hr as it was below minimum wage;

The respondents favoured a paid-on-call system for the benefit of their families including being able to pay for a baby sitter and/or recreation;

72 per cent of the respondents said their commitment would be increased with financial compensation;

82 per cent said paid-on-call was important for Council to consider, yet the bonus system as presented was not favourably received as only a handful of officers would benefit;

The advantages of a paid-on-call system included recruitment, attendance and appreciation;

23.53 per cent of respondents noted a disadvantage to the paid-on-call system is discrepancy in pay, while 64 per cent saw no disadvantages; and

annual contribution was tied between $1,000 and $5,000 per member.

“It’s a really interesting subject,” said Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood. “We have made a huge investment in our fire department, and that’s something that’s good for moral and recruitment retention.”

Bood continued, stating “At the same time, the fire department requires a ton of time from its volunteers, as they are providing an essential service.

“It takes a really dedicated person to be a volunteer — part of having a viable and strong fire department is making sure that our end of things does what it can, including looking at compensation, to make things as good as we can for those volunteers.”

Bood confirmed there is “room for compensation in some kind of manner — we’re going to take a good look at this and make sure the department is as viable as we can make it.”

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