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e-2846 (Taxation)

Initiated by Sean Wood from Parksville, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Volunteer firefighters account for 83% of Canada’s total firefighting essential first responders;
  • In addition, approximately 8,000 essential search and rescue volunteers respond to thousands of incidents every year;
  • The tax code of Canada currently allows volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers to claim a $3,000 tax credit if 200 hours of volunteer services were completed in a calendar year;
  • This works out to a mere $450 per year, which we allow these essential volunteers to keep of their own income from their regular jobs, $2.25 an hour;
  • If they volunteer more than 200 hours, which many do, this tax credit becomes even less;
  • These essential volunteers not only put their lives on the line and give their time, training and efforts to Canadians, but they also allow cities and municipalities to keep property taxes lower than if paid services were required;
  • Increasing this tax credit would allow these essential volunteers 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.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to increase the tax exemption from $3,000 to $10,000 for lines 31220 and 31240 to help our essential volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue people across the country.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The Government recognizes the contributions of all volunteers and the important roles they play in their communities. In light of this, reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteers in the course of their duties may generally be reimbursed on a non-taxable basis. Additionally, emergency services volunteers are eligible for an income exemption of up to $1,000 if they received an honorarium from a government, municipality, or other public authority. The Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit and the Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit provide tax recognition for eligible volunteers who do not receive an honorarium or who do not claim the income exemption. 

Our Government is committed to a tax system that is fair, and that works for the middle class. The first action of our second mandate was to introduce a measure that would increase the amount of money Canadians can earn before paying federal income tax to $15,000 by 2023.  To ensure that this tax relief goes to the people who need it most, the benefits would be phased out for the wealthiest Canadians.

At this time, our Government is focused on helping Canadians get through the challenges they face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Government will continue to support Canadians through this challenge while ensuring that our economy is ready to bounce back quickly. 

Open for signature
October 26, 2020, at 10:05 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
December 25, 2020, at 10:05 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
February 4, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00484)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2021
Photo - Gord Johns
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia