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Letter from SVFFA President About Recent SUMA/SARM CISM Resolution

March 14, 2018

From the desk of the President
Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association (SVFFA)

Dear SVFFA members:

It is with a sense of disappointment that I find myself writing to you all today. As you may or may not have been aware, the SVFFA and SAFC had put forth a resolution to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, (SUMA), as well as the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, (SARM), asking for a one time per capita funding of fifty cents per Saskatchewan resident. This money was being asked for from the two associations to help make sure that our peer counselling program, CISM/CISD peer support, can continue without having to be funded from our own pockets.

Sadly the resolution was defeated at SUMA due to a wording error which presumed that SUMA would tell SARM what they have to do. As we all know this was not the proper wording and as such the resolution was defeated at SUMA. We then rewrote the wording to be specific to SARM and at the convention in Regina today, the resolution was soundly defeated by 85% of all voting members. The concerns that were brought forth against the resolution were as follows:

  • If a SARM member does not want to pay the fifty cents per capita are there sanctions against that RM?
  • What happens down the road if this is a onetime assessment, will we be knocking on the door again for more money in the next few years?
  • SARM insurance has a clause for paying for PTSD treatment so why would they have to add this?
  • And the biggest and loudest concern was that SARM does not feel that this is their problem to worry about, it should be coming from the province to make sure it is always funded.

I am not going to argue any points in this letter, but rather I am going to suggest to all that read this, maybe we should start writing to either WCB to add the ability to bill for debriefing/defusing/peer counselling, or start writing or emailing our elected officials to make the funding for this available through either health, SGI or some other department.

I will take this time to personally thank all the board members of the SVFFA and SAFC for their work on this matter and furthermore I feel we need to thank the Town of Balgonie council for backing the amendment at SUMA, and thank the council of the RM of Edenwold for backing the resolution at SARM. Without these two councils stepping up we could not have moved this ahead. Having said that you as members now need to step up with other volunteer firefighters and start a letter writing campaign to bring awareness to this matter.

I remain positive that we will find some way to get the support that is badly needed for volunteer fire services in our province, it is just going to take a little bit longer and more hard work from our side, but that is OK because we are volunteer firefighters and we always get it done.

Yours in firefighting

Doug Lapchuk
President
SVFFA