In 2009, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District created a policy for paid-on-call firefighters and officers, according to their rank and training.
Since that time, there have been five revisions to the policy, but no increase in pay.
“The rate of pay was not substantial due to budgetary requirements, and the firefighters have been of the opinion that they do not work for pay, but to serve their communities,” Derek Sutherland, team leader of Protective Services, reported at the June 16 regional district board meeting. “That being said, it was important to the CSRD that the firefighters were not out-of-pocket for time spent with the department.”
Sutherland added that after 10 years, the policy is falling behind in compensation for the firefighters and a pay increase is warranted to keep up with inflationary costs.
Board members agreed, with Area C director Paul Demenok asking if it would be appropriate to factor cost-of-living increases into the policy.
Sutherland said there had been some discussion around the issue but interim CAO Jodi Pierce was opposed to the suggestion.
“I recognize in a normal situation CPI would be a valuable way to look at this,” she said. “However, If we were looking at giving CPI to firefighters, we might be giving them significant raises compared to unionized staff.”
The board endorsed staff recommendations unanimously, agreeing to pay raises, with new hourly rates for firefighters going into effect on July 1. New honorarium rates for fire chiefs, deputy fire chiefs, training officers, captains and lieutenants will be updated on Jan. 1, 2023.
As well, the policy will include hourly compensation for instruction and apparatus maintenance checks.
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