CLAC Appeals Unjust Terminations of Volunteer Firefighters
Sudbury, Ontario—CLAC is appealing the unjust discipline and termination of volunteer firefighters from their positions with the City of Greater Sudbury. The volunteer firefighters are represented by Ontario Volunteer Firefighters Association, CLAC Local 920.
"The discipline issued to these volunteer firefighters was excessive and egregious,” says Gord O’Coin, CLAC Sudbury regional director. “We are appealing each of these disciplines and terminations and will utilize every resource within our collective agreement to ensure our members are treated justly.”
The discipline results from volunteer firefighters lobbying and voicing their concerns with the City of Greater Sudbury’s Optimization Plan, which was rejected by City Council on April 26, 2017.
“Volunteer firefighters are highly trained and provide an outstanding level of service to their communities,” says O’Coin. “All volunteers must complete the training standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency. They only receive a nominal honorarium for the time they spend serving their community, which averages less than $3,500 per year.”
The optimization plan was aimed at reducing the number of volunteer firefighters, closing nine volunteer fire stations, and replacing volunteer firefighters with full-time firefighters. Had the plan gone into effect, it would have resulted in significant tax increases for the residents of the City of Greater Sudbury.
“Volunteers opposed the optimization plan because it was not the right plan for the residents of this city,” says Matthew Walchuk, CLAC Sudbury field representative. “They were not concerned with losing their stipend for being a volunteer. They realized the actual cost of the optimization plan and knew it would significantly increase taxes while not enhancing the fire service. They were left with no choice but to speak with members of council and inform the citizens of what the optimization plan would do. We fully support the rights of our members to free speech and stand with our members.”