The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has presented a submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 109, the Employment and Labour Statute Amendment Act, 2015. The submission focuses on schedules 1 and 3 and follows similar calls by AMO to allow full time firefighters to “double-hat” by serving as volunteer firefighters in smaller communities. This issue became contentious last year following a high profile dispute between the Union of Professional Firefighters and a so-called “double-hatter.”
According to AMO:
Full-time firefighters have valuable skills to offer local communities in Ontario. First, full-time firefighters and their current full time work schedules enable them to be available to work in the communities in which they live. Second, full-time firefighters are highly skilled individuals who can bring invaluable service and experience to their community. The use and reliance on volunteer firefighters is particularly prevalent in smaller and rural communities located throughout the province. Our member communities use “two-hatters” to increase their levels of experience and expertise and we believe this is a very good thing. It is important to remember that full-time firefighters love their communities and want to contribute. Volunteer firefighting is one central way in which they do so. AMO appreciates the courageous position of volunteer firefighters who believe in the principle of freedom to volunteer in their communities.
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