Beginning in 2020, Alberta will offer extra support for first responders and their families.
Budget 2019 commits $9 million over three years to implement the Heroes Fund and first responders platform commitments, starting in April 2020.
The Heroes Fund will provide a one-time, tax-free $100,000 payment to eligible families of first responders who die as a result of performing their duties.
“There is no higher form of public service than to risk one’s life to maintain public safety. Albertans who do so are heroes and deserve our respect and support. We are honouring their noble service with improved benefits for their families.”Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration
“The Alberta Fire Fighters Association would like to applaud the Government of Alberta for implementing the Heroes Fund. While we would love to see the day when this fund is not needed, the harsh reality is that it will be needed for a long time. Every day, first responders go to work not knowing what each shift will bring, not even knowing whether or not they will come home from that shift. This fund will ease the burden on the families whose loved ones make the ultimate sacrifice protecting and caring for their communities.”Brad Readman, president, Alberta Fire Fighters Association
Government has also committed funding to improve services for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Administrative details for both the Heroes Fund and PTSD funding will be developed over the coming months.
- Budget 2019 commits $1.5 million per year for the Heroes Fund for three years, starting in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
- Alberta is the only province with a grant program for families of fallen first responders.
- First responders include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, sheriffs and correctional officers.
- Heroes Fund payments are separate from regular workers’ compensation fatality benefits.
- Budget 2019 also commits $1.5 million per year for three years to improve services for first responders diagnosed with PTSD, starting in 2020-21.
- Albertans are served by:
- More than 14,000 full-time, part-time, casual and volunteer firefighters. About 80 per cent are volunteers.
- More than 7,500 police officers.
- More than 9,400 paramedics.