March 20, 2019 7:52 pm
Updated: March 22, 2019 7:13 pm

Tax credit unveiled for volunteer firefighters in Saskatchewan

WATCH ABOVE: The head of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association sees a new tax credit as a thank you, and has high hopes for another part of the provincial budget. David Baxter explains.

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The 2019-20 Saskatchewan budget contains new, non-refundable tax credits for volunteer firefighters and medical fire responders.

Volunteers with at least 200 hours of service in a year will be able to claim a $3,000 tax credit, starting in the 2020 tax year.

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It would be a $2.1-million cost to the province if all 7,000 volunteer first responders apply. Eligible service includes responding to emergencies, being on-call, and attending meetings and training.

Finance minister Donna Harpauer said while this was an election promise, the Humboldt Broncos bus crash still serves as a reminder.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team’s bus collided with a semi-truck on April 6, 2018, en route to a playoff game in Nipawin. Sixteen people died, including players and team staff. Thirteen others were injured.

“It’s renewed our gratitude,” Harpauer said.

“We’ve always been grateful, but sometimes we forget and that particular incident, I think has renewed our gratitude of the importance of those first responders out there.”

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The budget also includes money to modernize the province’s fleet of firefighting aircraft.

Over $9.25 million is earmarked to make the first of payment of one CL215T air tanker, which costs just over $37 million. It will join the fleet for the 2022 wildfire season.

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The new aircraft will replace the province’s one remaining CL215P piston tanker.

Saskatchewan’s current fleet includes four land-based air tankers, six water-scooping aircraft and seven smaller bird-dog planes that are used to guide tanker aircraft.

-With files from Cami Kepke

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