Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Ottawa approves converting volunteers to casual employees, new fines for false fire alarms

By City of Ottawa   

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Feb. 23, 2024, Ottawa – The City of Ottawa will convert rural firefighters’ employment status from volunteers to casual employees.

This will give them access to enhanced compensation and recognize their role as emergency responders, and help retain skilled rural firefighters to uphold response time standards, the city said in a press release.

As casual employees, rural firefighters will be eligible to receive pension and benefits through the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, as well as vacation pay.

The city has also approved a fee for false fire alarms caused by equipment malfunction or negligence.


The fee will only apply at commercial, institutional, industrial or multi-residential properties, and it will not apply to alarms outside the control of the owner, such as those caused by accidents, weather or vandalism.

There will be no fee for the first false alarm, but the second one in a calendar year will cost $500, $1,000 for a third false fire alarm, and $1,500 for any subsequent false alarms.

The new strategy will come into effect on July 1.

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