Quebec forest fire workers vote for strike mandate as wildfire season looms

Click to play video: 'Canada preparing more firefighters, technology ahead of wildfire season'
Canada preparing more firefighters, technology ahead of wildfire season
RELATED - Dozens of wildfires are already burning in remote parts of B.C. and Alberta, regions devastated during 2023's record-breaking season. David Akin reports on how both federal and provincial officials are using lessons from the previous year to be better prepared for what's to come – May 9, 2024

Workers with Quebec’s forest fire agency have voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike mandate as the summer wildfire season approaches.

The Unifor union, which represents provincial fire service workers including firefighters, communications staff and mechanics, says the mandate allows members to strike “at the opportune moment.”

Workers with the fire service — the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu, or SOPFEU — were kept busy last year during a record-breaking wildfire season.

Unifor says that despite the participation of a mediator, negotiations have stalled over such issues as salaries, vacations and workforce mobility.

Quebec law requires SOPFEU workers to maintain essential operations during a strike.

The forest fire protection service, which employs about 450 people, says Quebec saw slightly more fires than average in April, with 52 fires burning about 46 hectares.

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730 wildfires reported across Canada so far this year

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