The families of Canadian fire fighters and other first responders who died in the line of duty on or after April 1, 2018, are now eligible for a national line-of-duty death benefit in the amount of $300,000.
Enacted by Canada’s Department of Public Safety through its new Memorial Grant Program for First Responders, the benefit is the direct result of a tenacious 25-year lobbying effort by the IAFF for a national Public Safety Officer Compensation (PSOC) benefit.
While the Canadian government is still finalizing details on the administration of the benefit, it will apply to all line-of-duty deaths recognized by provincial workers’ compensation boards, including traumatic deaths, as well as those caused by occupational diseases such as cancer, heart disease and post-traumatic stress.
The benefit is a tax-free, lump sum payment made directly to surviving family members as a recognition of their service and sacrifice.
“We’re grateful to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale for ensuring the government of Canada recognizes fire fighters’ sacrifices and for making this benefit a reality,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “No family ever wants to need this benefit, but if they do, it is now there for them as a national recognition of the sacrifice that has been made.”
An average of 26 Canadian IAFF members die in the line of duty annually, the majority from cancers and other diseases linked to the profession. With affiliated provincial associations expanding the scope of their presumptive legislation over time, more deserving families will qualify for the new national benefit.