Jason Dixon (seen here in helmet 140) is one of Sooke’s firefighters. (Sooke Fire Rescue)

New pay model for Sooke Fire Rescue hopes to attract non-career firefighters

The compensation model is playing catch-up with other municipalities

Changes are taking place at Sooke Fire Rescue to meet the demands of community growth. And Fire Chief Kenn Mount says those changes will only make the service stronger.

Starting in July, Sooke Fire Rescue moved from a volunteer model to a paid-on call model for non-career firefighters.

The department is now accepting applications for the positions and Mount says the new system will help attract a different crop of recruits and aid with the retention of firefighters.

“In the past the [volunteer] members were offered a small stipend for their work, depending on how many hours of training they engaged in and how many calls they attended,” Mount said.

“It really was a minimal amount. For a three-hour call out, for example, they might receive a total of $11. That didn’t do much to reflect how much we valued their service.”

The level of compensation for the volunteer corps of the department was based on a budget of about $38,000 per year that was split among all the non-career members for all the calls and training they attended.

“We have been looking for this change for about five years, and I want to acknowledge that council has been supportive of this initiative,” Mount said.

“We certainly have some catching up to do.”

RELATED: Dept. seeks to attract new volunteers

The new system will raise that remuneration and base it on individual contributions, rank and qualifications. In practical terms, it will mean that non-career firefighters will be compensated for somewhere between $15 and $32 an hour with new recruits starting at the lower end of that scale with the ability to move up with additional training and experience.

By the time a non-career firefighter rises to the rank of lieutenant, they could receive compensation at a rate equivalent to 75 per cent of a career counterpart.

In order to accomplish that the compensation budget for the department will rise to $53,000 in 2019 to $99,000 in 2020 and $143,000 in 2022. Those funds would be used to fund the entire non-career component of the department for all the calls and training in which they’re involved.

“I’m responsible for recruiting firefighters this year, and I believe that this will have a positive effect on our recruitment as well as our retention of firefighters,” said Ben Temple, a career firefighter and an executive member of Sooke Fire Fighters Local 4841.

“I’m looking for about 25 to 30 volunteer applicants from which we’ll be selecting about six or seven.”

He added the decision to be an on-call firefighter is one that, due to the time commitment, impacts the family. The new compensation method may help to motivate those families to make that commitment.

“We really value our on-call members. We’re now going to have a chance to demonstrate that appreciation.,” Mount said.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Saanich Police warn of counterfeit money being used

Several fake $100 bills have been reported in Greater Victoria

Man who killed Langford teen attended her memorial service, demonstrates little remorse

Parole Board of Canada documents reveal factors in parole decision

Raccoon hits vehicle head on, captured on video

One of many strange sights on Sunday for one Victoria cyclist

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read