Search and Rescue members prepare to head out on Pitt Lake to look for missing boaters.

Tax credit offered for volunteer searchers, firefighters

BC Liberal budget includes credit of up to $150 a year for volunteers who put in at least 200 hours

The BC Liberal government is adding a provincial tax credit to its pre-election budget for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue members, worth up to $150 a year.

Volunteers who put in 200 hours a year for search and rescue, firefighting or both would be eligible for the tax credit, starting this year. Combined with a federal tax credit, volunteers would receive about $600 a year in tax breaks for their efforts.

“These local heroes leave the comfort of home to rush out into often dangerous and unpredictable conditions, in every type of environment, to provide a beacon of hope to both those lost and to the families waiting at home,” said Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for emergency preparedness, making the announcement in North Vancouver Saturday.

Bob Stevens, president of the Volunteer Firefighters Association of B.C., said the tax credit is welcome recognition for people who in many cases receive no compensation for their effort and personal expense.

“Many small communities in B.C. rely heavily on volunteer firefighters and search and rescue groups to provide protection and assistance in times of need,” Stevens said.

Yamamoto said in an interview the tax credit will cost the province about $1 million a year, in addition to the $5 million a year currently provided for training and materials and $9 million in the current fiscal year to compensate volunteer organizations for fuel, helicopters and other expenses.

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association has 2,500 volunteers in 80 groups in the province. The Volunteer Firefighters Association of B.C. has 177 active volunteer fire departments with about 4,500 volunteer members.

The B.C. government is set to unveil a monument to search and rescue volunteers on the grounds of the B.C. legislature on March 2.



Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley hockey tournament remembers young fan

Hundreds take part in annual Jordan Owens memorial

Langley food producers join website celebrating Canada eats

A Canadian woman created the site not to make money, but to promote eating local

Giants draw first blood in WHL playoff series vs. Victoria

Home ice advantage non-existent for Royals against arch-rival Vancouver

VIDEO: Fire shuts down 232 Street in Langley

Traffic being re-routed following Langley structure fire

No red flags in expense audit, says former Fraser Health boss who fired Murray

Wynne Powell said report showed need for tighter rules, but didn’t suggest abuse of expense claims

VIDEO: Horseshoers battle for national spot in farrier championship

The Canadian horseshoeing main event was held in Chilliwack this weekend

Musicians Sarah Harmer, Grimes join B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Musicians are in Vancouver for the Juno Awards on Sunday night

Gas prices likely driving Canadians to US pumps

Customs say cost of fuel, nice weather, spring break are contributing factors of uptick of traffic

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Most Read