October 28th, 2020
MP GORD JOHNS SPONSORS CONSTITUENT PETITION FOR FIRST RESPONDER TAX CREDIT INCREASE
Port Alberni — Member of Parliament Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) is sponsoring a parliamentary petition initiated by his Green Party opponent in the last federal election. Sean Wood, a Parksville businessman and former volunteer fire fighter, is asking Canadians to sign a petition urging the government to increase the tax credit for essential workers who volunteer as first responders.
Currently, volunteer firefighters, volunteer members of the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, or the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary are eligible for a tax credit of $3,000 if they volunteer at least 200 hours of their time a year. "This works out to $450 annually or $2.25/hour given back at tax time, but often they put in much more than 200 hours a year, making that tax credit worth even less,” says Mr. Wood. The petition calls on the government to increase the tax credit to $10,000.
“I became friends with Sean during the election campaign and we have stayed in touch,” said Mr. Johns, “I was delighted to hear from him about his idea to find a tangible way to help volunteer first responders particularly during this pandemic."
“Rural communities, like so many in our riding, are very reliant on the work of volunteer first responders,” he said. “I believe strongly in bringing the voices of constituents to Parliament and Sean’s initiative was particularly important so I immediately agreed to get behind his petition,” he added.
Volunteer firefighters account for 83% of firefighting essential first responders in Canada; and, approximately 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents each year.
“Increasing this tax credit would allow volunteer first responders to keep more of their hard-earned money, likely to be spent in the communities in which they live; and, It would also help retain these volunteers in a time when volunteerism is decreasing,” Mr. Wood says in the petition’s introduction.
“It is my very great privilege to sponsor this petition and I look forward to tabling all the signatures that are collected in the House of Commons at an early opportunity and advocating strongly for volunteer first responders,” said MP Johns.
The petition has been filed with the Clerk of Petitions for the House of Commons and can be accessed at: petitions.ourcommons.ca