Protecting Volunteer Fire Fighters Outside of Existing Agreement Areas
Be it resolved that SUMA lobby the Provincial Government to implement a blanket province-wide mutual aid agreement insuring that all volunteer fire fighters who are involved in fire fighting and emergency measures situations can be covered by insurance.
I have been advised that any loss and liability insurance is available and coverage is in fact provided in this area to approximately 90% of our urban municipalities by SGI. As well, the Insurance Broker agency associated with SUMA General Insurance program and the Fire Fighter Insurance program identifies that insurance is readily available for urban and rural municipalities to cover loss or damage to equipment and to cover fire fighter injury. Currently, The Fire Prevention Act, The Cities Act and related municipal acts allow for immunity from liability for fire fighters (paid or volunteer) for anything done by them in good faith, whether inside or outside their area of jurisdiction. Although this affords protection from liability, it does not provide coverage for equipment that may be damaged or for fire fighters who receive an injury. This is normally covered by insurance or workers' compensation. Section 42 of The Municipalities Act, 33 of The Cities Act and 100.1(2) of The Northern Municipalities Act require municipalities to make agreements before they respond outside of their jurisdiction. Items such as insurance should be a part of the discussion between municipalities when entering into agreements. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Department of Government Relations along with officials from my department are currently reviewing the matter of municipal liability. Therefore, it there are any other issues related to this item, I ask that you contact the Fire Commissioner, Mr. Rick McCullough as soon as possible, at 787-4516, to discuss your concerns further. In this way, they can betaken into consideration in these discussions. As well, The Fire Prevention Act is under review with plans to bring forward a number of amendments in the 2006 Fall Session of the Legislature. We look forward to representatives from SUMA being fully involved in discussions related to these changes with the opportunity to identify specific issues as outlined here.