Government to increase tax credits for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers

News release

April 10, 2024 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

Volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers play a critical role in protecting Canadians. Every year thousands of Canadians volunteer their time, and sacrifice their own safety, to keep their neighbours safe. Whether responding to flooding in Nova Scotia or wildfires in British Columbia, these volunteers continue to go above and beyond to help with firefighting and search and rescue.

In recognition of this, today the federal government announced that Budget 2024 will propose to double the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and the Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit.

This means the tax credit will increase from $3,000 to $6,000 for 2024 and subsequent tax years, saving volunteer firefighters up to $900 per year. This increase will particularly benefit rural communities where firefighters are most often volunteers and they are confronting increasingly more frequent wildfires due to climate change. Over the next six years, this represents about $105 million in new support for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers across the country.  

Today’s announcement also includes $166.2 million over five years in new funding in support of First Nations emergency management and preparedness. Recognizing that many First Nations communities are especially vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters, this investment will better support First Nations to protect their communities.

These investments will help ensure that our essential first responder volunteers are better supported in the selfless work they do to keep all of us safe. Alongside these measures, in the upcoming budget, the government will announce further action to build more homes, faster, make life more affordable, and create more good jobs and economic growth to ensure every generation can get ahead.


“Volunteer firefighters keep Canadians safe, while putting their own lives at risk. As wildfires and natural disasters grow more severe, these volunteers remain some of the only first responders in their community. The Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit and the Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit are there to support the service of remarkable Canadians and encourage more people to do this critical, lifesaving work.”

– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“The 2023 Wildfire Season was instructive – it showed us what the world will be like if we fail to tackle climate change and prepare for increasingly intense burn seasons. The immediate priority of any government is to protect lives and livelihoods – and increasingly that starts with recognizing the scientific reality of climate change and investing in measures to mitigate and adapt our changing climate. That is why the federal government has been working hard to train more firefighters, provide more lifesaving equipment, and partner with provinces and territories in anticipation for the 2024 wildfire season and fire seasons to come.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

"Canadians from coast to coast to coast have felt the increasing impacts of intense wildfires due to the changing climate. These emergencies, which threaten our communities, livelihoods and environment, are met by extraordinary individuals who volunteer as firefighters and search and rescue personnel. There is no braver person than one who is willing to sacrifice their own life for another. Our federal government recognizes this essential community service through the Volunteer Firefighters and Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credits.”

– The Honourable Harjit Sajjan,
President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“Today’s announcement marks another big step forward as we implement Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. We are committed to protecting communities, our economy and our natural environment from the costly impacts of climate change. While we work to reduce the carbon emissions that are driving climate change, we are also safeguarding Canadians from immediate climate impacts, such as more intense and costly wildfires.” 

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“First Nations communities and their traditional lands are experiencing firsthand the impacts of climate change. They are disproportionally affected, with 80% of communities at risk of wildfire. First Nations know best what they need to manage wildfires, and today’s announcement incorporates their traditional knowledge while building their capacity in a self-determinate way. Our message is clear: we will be at First Nations’ side and support their efforts both before, during, and after the wildfire season.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu,
Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

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Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

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