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If passed, Bill 47, Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape, will allow Alberta’s government to follow through on its commitment to create the Heroes Fund. Alberta’s government will honour the sacrifices of first responders who die as a result of performing their duties. The Heroes Fund will provide a one-time tax-free payment of $100,000 to eligible families through the Workers’ Compensation Board.
“There is no higher form of public service than to risk one’s life to maintain public safety. While nothing can replace a loved one, the Heroes Fund will provide families with extra support and improved benefits while honouring the brave and valiant service of Alberta’s fallen heroes.”
“First responders commit their lives to serving their communities and we must honour their heroic work and ensure their loved ones have the support they need. Our government committed to ensuring families of Alberta’s fallen heroes are supported, and while I wish this fund wasn’t needed, today we are delivering on our promise to honour them and the sacrifices they’ve made.”
Eligible first responders include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, sheriffs and provincial corrections officers. Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) will administer the Heroes Fund and will begin identifying eligible families and administering payments, which are retroactive to April 1, 2020.
“Day in and day out, our members put their health and safety on the line to help Albertans often during the most difficult times in their lives. First responders understand that this is our calling, this is what we do. We acknowledge the inherent risk of our profession and do what we can to mitigate risk. Unfortunately, risk cannot always be mitigated, and every year we see firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers who are killed from job-related injuries, occupational disease, or mental health struggles. The Alberta Fire Fighters Association would like to take this opportunity to applaud the Government of Alberta for the Heroes Fund. While this fund will never replace the void from the loss of a loved one, it will help ease the inevitable financial hardships caused by those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
“First responders are charged with the significant responsibility of upholding safety in our communities and protecting citizens, often placing their lives in danger. Losing a loved one in the line of duty is a tragedy many of us are lucky to be unfamiliar with, but for those who must live with that grief and its many hardships, this fund provides much-needed support and commemoration of heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“As a former sergeant with the Calgary Police Service, I was honoured to serve with many brave police officers, firefighters, and paramedics in the City of Calgary. I know first-hand how our first responders put their lives on the line every day in the service of Albertans and I am proud that our government is fulfilling our commitment to create a Heroes Fund. Our government is taking concrete action to give the families of our fallen heroes the help they need in difficult times.”
“I’m proud to be part of a government that delivers on its promises and stands up for first responders and their families. As a former paramedic firefighter, I understand the sacrifices first responders make to serve their communities and answer the call to service. I wish everyone could return home safely at the end of the day, but for those who pay the ultimate price serving their communities, the creation of this fund will make a difference in the lives of family members when they need it most. Establishing this fund will make Alberta the only province with a program of this type to honour and pay tribute to the families of first responders.”
- Budget 2020 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 program of this type for families of fallen first responders.
- Heroes Fund payments are separate from regular workers’ compensation fatality benefits.
- The Heroes Fund will take effect when Bill 47 receives royal assent.
- There were 106 Alberta first responder fatalities between 2010 and 2019.
- 90 per cent of these were firefighters due to occupational illness.
- 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.