All Port Hardy Fire Rescue members will now be compensated for their work.
Port Hardy Council passed a Fire Department Remuneration policy amendment at their council meeting on May 22, so that members will receive a small financial compensation for attendance at events.
This comes after a survey sent out to Port Hardy residents in October 2017 which resulted in 75 per cent of respondents being in favour of providing financial compensation to the fire department. Based on the response from the survey, council included a paid-on-call model in their 2018 financial plan.
The new policy amendment states that “Effective January 1, 2018, the following compensation will be paid annually to the officers designated on the Port Hardy Volunteer Fire Rescue, Fire Chief $13,000.00; Deputy Fire Chief $10,000.00; Officers (max 5) $2,000.000 each”.
It also states that “All firefighters having completed basic training as required by the department shall be compensated for their time at a rate of $12.50 per event for the following: training nights (one per week), Hall Duty (two per month), and Responding for a call.”
“I’m glad that we are going ahead with this, and that we got moving on it so that our firefighters will understand that we are serious about their remuneration, and we really do value their input into our communities,” said Coun. Leightan Wishart before the policy was approved.
“It seems to certainly be the direction for a number of volunteer fire departments, because the demand and the time are quite significant,” added Coun. Fred Robertson.
Mayor Hank Bood said council has realized over the years that “remuneration is a part of the puzzle that keeps our volunteers, and they are still volunteers because they don’t get a lot of money.”
The members will be paid quarterly (April 15, July 15, September 15, and January 15) after the Fire Chief forwards a list to the District detailing each member’s service during that period.
In January, PHFR Chief Brent Borg commented that PHFR puts in over 10,000 hours a year and that a paid-on-call model is well deserved for the local firefighters “who put in the hours during fire calls, training nights, and weekend hall duties.”
– with files from Tyson Whitney