Sudbury Volunteer Firefighters Ratify New Contract
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Sudbury Volunteer Firefighters Ratify New Contract

Sudbury, ON—Volunteer firefighters with the City of Greater Sudbury ratified a five-year collective agreement providing several improved features targeted at enhancing volunteer recruitment and retention.

The firefighters are represented by Ontario Volunteer Firefighters Association, CLAC Local 920. The ratification vote concluded on Monday, June 12, and achieved 94 percent support from the members. Sudbury City Council approved the settlement at its meeting on Tuesday, June 13.

With this new contract, which covers the period from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2024, the city will increase its investment in firefighter training. Volunteers participate in weekly training and with this agreement the number of hours that they can claim payment for increases from six to 12 per month. The agreement also increases the yearly retention bonus to $100 or $150 for volunteers with five or more years of service. It also provides a modest increase to the volunteers’ honorarium of approximately two percent per year.

Negotiations were prolonged, and one of the primary causes was a regulation introduced by the province of Ontario in 2022 that requires all firefighters in Ontario to be trained to a new provincial standard by July 1, 2026. As part of this new agreement, fire management and the volunteers have mapped out a series of training delivery options that they’ll work together on to implement in the coming months.

“The new training certification program was a particularly difficult challenge for the parties to work through,” says Ian DeWaard, CLAC Ontario director. “There’s much work to be done on finding better ways to deliver the additional 220 hours and testing, but there is definitely some positive, forward momentum between the parties.

“The union bargaining committee believes that both sides made important strides to reestablishing the kind of positive, solutions-focused approach to problem-solving that will make for a better department—one that current and future volunteers will be able to take pride in. There’s much work to be done, but this new agreement signals a willingness from both parties to continue to do that work together, even when we don’t always agree on the path forward.”

CLAC represents over 900 volunteer firefighters throughout Ontario. This collective agreement represents the third contract with the City of Greater Sudbury since the volunteers first joined the union in 2013.

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