OTTAWA – September, 13, 2020 – Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day:
“Each day, firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe. They use their mental and physical strength to respond in an emergency, putting their own health on the line, especially as we face the global COVID-19 pandemic. When tragedy strikes, we remember those who paid the ultimate price, and those who have suffered injuries, traumas and illnesses.
The Government of Canada stands with families of firefighters when they are faced with tragedy, and we are working collaboratively to support the mental wellness of all public safety officers.
The Government of Canada’s Memorial Grant for First Responders benefits families of firefighters who have lost a loved one as a direct result of their duties. This grant provides a one-time lump sum, tax-free direct maximum payment of $300,000 to the families of firefighters, police officers and paramedics who die as a direct result of their duties. This benefit is an important advancement in how our country supports those who keep us safe.
We know that based on the nature of their work, firefighters are exposed to traumatic events that can put them at greater risk for post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI). Last year, the Government of Canada launched the National Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI). The Action Plan is a long-term approach to address the mental health issues affecting public safety personnel.
Today, on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day, I would urge all Canadians to take a moment to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of these brave individuals. Although we cannot gather together today to honour and remember those firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty, flags at half-mast across the country serve as a stark reminder of their dedication to public safety.
I would also like to commend the Canadian Fallen Firefighters’ Foundation for their efforts to honour the fallen today in a virtual National Memorial ceremony.”