Canadian Legislative Conference

May 6, 2014

To: All Members of Local 867

From: Robert Campbell

April 27 – 30, 2014

Canadian Legislative Conference

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Legislative Conference in Ottawa with Brothers Forrest, Naaykens and Balcaen. Education and information was presented on the briefs that we in turn would use to discuss the point with various MP’s and Senators. Particular mention should be noted that UFFW President Alex Forrest had the opportunity to meet with Federal Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch to advance our issues. On this occasion the briefs being discussed were inclusion in the National Building Code with respect to fire fighter safety and to establish, by the Federal Government, a Public Safety Officer Compensation benefit.

Having fire fighter safety recognized as a core requirement in the National Building Code will allow fire fighters to have a seat at the table in making recommendations and amendments to the code with respect to fire fighter safety. The use of silent floor joists, high-rise wooden structures and other construction methods puts our members at risk every time we enter a burning building. The pendulum has swung too far in favour of the builders at the expense of safety, fire fighter safety. Make no mistake we do not want to write the building code but we do want to have a voice for making amendments’ to protect our membership.

The creation of a Public Safety Officers Compensation benefit is not a new idea. Canadian fire fighters have been lobbying the government for this for 21 years and the United States has had this benefit for over 40 years. It is recognition by the government, the country, paid to the family of a fire fighter who succumbs to a line of duty death. The benefit being asked for is $300,000. In the U.S. it is $333,604.68. Sounds like a lot, but picture a fire fighter with a young family, and he or she dies in his/her 40’s. It is not intended to “set up” the family for life, but to ease the financial burden when the ultimate sacrifice is made.

More information on both of these briefs can be found on the Canadian IAFF website and I encourage you to become informed on what every local in Canada is fighting for on your behalf.

On behalf of the executive who attended I would like to thank Local 867 membership for the opportunity to lobby for these important issues.