OTTAWA, April 5 /CNW/ - The International Association of Fire Fighters
(IAFF) and the Canadian Police Association (CPA) welcome news that a
Liberal Government would establish a fund to help the families of
fallen public safety officers, while encouraging all political parties
to include this important item in their respective election platforms.
In their election platform announced April 3, the Liberal Party of
Canada announced it would establish a 'Community Heroes Fund' that
would provide a one-time $300,000 payment to the families of fallen
public safety officers, such as fire fighters and police officers, who
die in the line of duty. The IAFF and the CPA have jointly called on
the federal government to establishment a national Public Safety
Officer Compensation (PSOC) benefit for several years.
"This kind of benefit is long overdue and we are pleased that the
Liberals are prepared to step to the plate for the families of our
fallen," says Scott Marks, Assistant to the General President for
Canadian Operations for the IAFF, which represents over 21,000
professional fire fighters across Canada.
"We support the creation of this benefit on behalf of our members and we
urge all political parties to include it in their platforms," says
Charles Momy, President of the Canadian Police Association, a national
voice for 41,000 front-line police personnel across Canada.
Both associations have called for the establishment of this benefit to
recognize that fire fighters or police officers who die in the line of
duty made their sacrifice on behalf of all Canadians. Among full-time
professional fire fighters, who protect 85 per cent of the nation's
population and infrastructure, only a handful have been able to
negotiate line of duty death benefits at the local level, and those
benefits commonly provide only two years' continuation of salary and
benefits, which is typically enough to keep survivors in the family
home for two years.
"The dignity and financial security of the family of a fire fighter who
has made the ultimate sacrifice should not depend on the uncertainties
of the collective bargaining process or on the city or province in
which they live and work," Marks says. "A national benefit is required
in order to ensure an equitable level of compensation and financial
On average, 18 professional fire fighters die in the line of duty
annually, including those who die from recognized occupational diseases
such as cancer. An average of seven police officers are killed in the
line of duty each year.
The IAFF and the CPA are both nonpartisan associations who have received
support for the PSOC benefit from the New Democratic Party and the
Green Party of Canada. Both associations have called on the
Conservative Party of Canada to recognize the sacrifices of fallen fire
fighters and police officers and to commit to ensuring their families
don't risk financial hardship.
"The need to stand up for the families of our police and firefighters
was made abundantly clear with the tragic death of Toronto Police
Sergeant Ryan Russell in January of this year. We owe it to those who
put their own safety on the line for the protection of our communities
to do everything we can for those left behind," said Mr. Momy.
SOURCE International Association of Firefighters
For further information:
IAFF - Assistant to the General President for Canadian Operations
Media and Government Relations Officer, Canadian Police Association