Statement from Minister Goodale at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association

OTTAWA, Sept. 10, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today issued the following statement after speaking at the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association annual general meeting.

"Today I had the opportunity to extend my deep appreciation for the vital roles that volunteer fire fighters play in keeping Canadians safe. We recently experienced our volunteers' determination and resiliency during the wildfire firefighting efforts in Fort McMurray this spring; their commitment to public service is remarkable.

Responding to emergencies requires tireless efforts on behalf of all first responders – including fire fighters, police and paramedics – and that is why it is so important that they have the help and support they need to ensure their health and well-being. To this end, Public Safety Canada is collaborating with the Health Portfolio to develop a coordinated national action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries in support of public safety officers. The plan will not only support the health and well-being of the public safety community, but will also contribute to the safety and resiliency of Canada.

Volunteers are at the heart of emergency response and providing all levels of government with critical resources – they represent the community's link to municipal, provincial/territorial and federal organizations in the delivery of services. We value the contribution that volunteers make to emergency response work, which is why we are committed to enhancing compensation benefits for public safety officers and volunteers killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. This initiative will offer some financial security to families who are struggling with the loss of a loved one or a permanently changed life circumstance.

The Government of Canada has also recently renewed its contribution program with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) of Canada. The Hazardous Material (HazMat) training initiative is available to all fire responders, both professional and volunteer. We are proud to continue to work with the IAFF in support of such an initiative that further provides first responders, including volunteer fire fighters, with the ability to respond safely and effectively to HazMat incidents.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation to all of Canada's volunteer fire fighters for the important and courageous work they do every day. You serve the public without hesitation and put others' safety before your own, and for that I want to thank you."

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SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

For further information: Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada. (613) 991-0657


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