The selfless sense of duty of our first responders is something all Edmontonians can count on – and should all be deeply grateful for. Simply by doing their jobs, first responders are exposed to more traumatic events than the general public could even imagine.
Beyond the daily toll they face, some make the ultimate sacrifice. Since 1848, Canada has lost more than 1,300 firefighters in the line of duty. To pay respect to their sacrifice, the second Sunday in September of each year will be recognized as Firefighters National Memorial Day. On this day, flags will be lowered to remember the fallen.
We also must recognize the impact their loss has on families and loved ones. Those who put their lives on the line, should not have to worry whether their families will be supported if something happens to them.
I’m pleased to report that a Memorial Grant Program for First Responders took effect on April 1st. The grant will support the surviving family members of first responders who pass away as a result of their duties, including volunteers. For families of first responders who lose a loved one as a result of their duties, there will be a one-time lump sum, tax-free payment of $300,000.