May 30, 2016 - 8:00 PM
VERNON - The federal government is being urged to show some gratitude to auxiliary police officers.
A petition that began in Vernon was officially tabled in the House of Commons today, May 30. It calls on the federal government to establish a tax credit for auxiliary police officers, who are unpaid volunteers.
Coun. Bob Spiers initiated the petition in January on the government’s e-petition website.
Similar federal tax credits were established for volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue personnel in 2011 and 2014.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Auxiliary Constable Program was introduced in 1963 and currently has 1,600 volunteers in communities across Canada. Recent changes have reduced the activities auxiliary volunteers can assist with, such as RCMP ride alongs, however they continue to contribute to community-based policing by engaging in community events and providing support to the general duties of the RCMP.
“I am hopeful the federal government’s response will be positive and all Canadian auxiliary police — whether municipal, provincial or RCMP — will get the same tax credit as other first responders, namely volunteer fighters and search and rescue volunteers,” Spiers says in a media release.
The petition was sponsored by North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold, who presented it in the House of Commons.
“I thank Coun. Spiers for his advocacy on behalf of auxiliary police and hope the federal government moves forward with establishing this benefit recognizing the valuable contributions of auxiliary police officers that make our communities safer and better places to live,” Arnold says.
The petition garnered 779 signatures, most of them from B.C. and Ontario, before closing May 7.
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