Minto supports including volunteer firefighters

Councillors here are supporting the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan (near Peterborough) which is asking the province to include  volunteer and part-time firefighters in the same legislation intended to protect full-time firefighters.

Councillor Rick Hembly, a professional firefighter in Cam­bridge, and Minto Fire Department deputy-chief (Pal­mer­ston station), excluded him­self prior to council’s discussion.

The resolution at council on May 20 noted the province gave all party support to pass The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (Presumptions for Firefighters) two years ago. That recognized the “urgent need to assist firefighters who develop job-related cancer or sustain a heart injury, when they file a claim with the Work­place Safety and Insurance Board.”

The resolution states that while the change immediately covered full-time firefighters, the intent allowed the inclusion of volunteer and part-time firefighters.

“In today’s fire service of composite departments and province wide emergency de­ployment of mutual aid, full-time, volunteer, and part-time firefighters work side by side every day. Volunteer and part-time firefighters are the backbone to the Ontario Fire Ser­vice. These brave men and women give their time and service to protect our homes, properties and families and deserve better.”

The resolution added, “Cancer and heart attack does not discriminate between full-time, volunteer and part-time firefighters.”

Deputy-mayor Judy Dirk­sen said the resolution was self-explanatory and she had heard about its at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario last August. Council passed the resolution of support with little discussion.

That support, along with resolutions from Puslinch and Centre Wellington councils, however, had little impact on the result on Wellington-Halton MPP Ted Arnott’s private member’s bill which was defeated at Queen’s Park on May 21 in 23-10 vote.