Nova Scotia

Newly launched benevolent fund to assist Nova Scotia firefighters

There are nearly 8,000 firefighters in Nova Scotia, and a new fund that has been given clearance to operate as a registered charity under the Income Tax Act will soon be available to help those who need it.

Fund aims to help firefighters and their families in times of sickness and emergency

Martin Walton is the president of the newly launched Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund. (Sarah Walton)

There are nearly 8,000 firefighters in Nova Scotia, and a new fund that has been given clearance to operate as a registered charity under the Income Tax Act will soon be available to help those who need it.

"It's really in response to having a provincial safety net for firefighters and their families in times of crisis," said Martin Walton, the president of the newly launched Nova Scotia Firefighters Benevolent Fund. "In times of sickness or sudden emergency in the family, that's when funding is needed most."

The origin of the fund goes back to 2019 when five firefighters in Lunenburg County, including Walton, saw the need for extra funding to assist firefighters when dealing with health matters where they may be forced to travel for appointments or in-hospital procedures.

"We want to help the firefighting community as much as we can with the cost of fuel, parking and meals," said Walton. "In some circumstances we could even help out with hotel accommodations."

Firefighters are shown at the scene of a fire on St. Margarets Bay Road in Halifax last month. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The fund will assist all firefighters, including paid, volunteer, those who work for government departments such as Lands and Forestry or serve on fire departments operated by Indigenous bands.

Walton said the fund is actively seeking out support. The more donations they bring in, the more firefighters they will be able to help.

The chief of a fire department is responsible for filing proper forms to the fund's website for review to determine eligibility.

Because it is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, the fund can give receipts to anyone who donates $20 or more.

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