Line 362 - Volunteer firefighters' amount and Line 395 - Search and rescue volunteers' amount
You can claim $3,000 for the volunteer firefighters' amount (VFA) or the search and rescue volunteers' amount (SRVA), but not both, if you meet the following conditions:
- you were a volunteer firefighter or a search and rescue volunteer during the year; and
- you completed at least 200 hours of eligible volunteer firefighting services or eligible search and rescue volunteer services in the year.
Watch the video: Volunteer firefighters' tax credit
The hours volunteered for both search and rescue and firefighter activities can be combined to claim either the VFA or the SRVA. You cannot claim both.
However, if you provided services to the same organization, other than as a volunteer, for the same or similar duties, you cannot include any hours related to that organization in determining if you have met the 200-hour threshold.
Eligible emergency volunteer services include both primary and secondary services you provided as a volunteer firefighter or as a search and rescue volunteer.
Primary services include:
- responding to and being on call for firefighting, search and rescue, and related emergency calls;
- attending meetings held by the fire department or search and rescue organization; and
- participating in required training related to preventing or suppressing fire or search and rescue services.
Secondary services you provided as a volunteer firefighter or a search and rescue volunteer for an organization are also eligible, such as the maintenance of vehicles and equipment used by the organization and the delivery of educational sessions undertaken by the fire department or search and rescue organization.
An eligible organization is a search and rescue organization that is a member of the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, or the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, or whose status as a search and rescue organization is recognized by a provincial, municipal or public authority. Your search and rescue organization can tell you if it is eligible.
As a volunteer firefighter or search and rescue volunteer, you may be eligible to claim a $1,000 exemption instead of the VFA or the SRVA. For more information, see Emergency services volunteers. If you choose to claim this income exemption, you will not be eligible for the volunteer firefighters' amount or the search and rescue volunteers' amount. The income exemption related to emergency services volunteers is shown in box 87 of your T4 slips.
Calculating eligible hours
You must complete a minimum of 200 hours of eligible volunteer firefighter or search and rescue services with one or more organizations in the year.
For the purpose of counting the number of eligible hours, the number of hours devoted to primary services must exceed the number of hours devoted to secondary services for a particular fire department.
A volunteer firefighter completes 110 hours of primary services and 135 hours of secondary services for a fire department. Because the number of hours for secondary services must be fewer than the number of hours for primary services, only 109 hours of secondary services can be included (110 - 1 = 109). As a result, the total number of hours of eligible services is 110 hours of primary services plus 109 hours of secondary services for a total of 219 hours. This volunteer firefighter meets the 200-hour threshold.
In general, you should rely on the fire department or the search and rescue volunteer organization to determine the number of hours of eligible emergency volunteer services you have completed in the year. The policies and procedures of an organization would be applied in determining the number of hours you were on call for emergency services volunteers and related emergency calls as a firefighter or search and rescue volunteer.
Completing your tax return
If you claim the $3,000 volunteer firefighters' amount or the search and rescue volunteers' amount, add the amounts shown in boxes 87 and 14 of your T4 slips and enter the result on line 101. Enter $3,000 on either line 362 or line 395 of Schedule 1.
If you are claiming the exemption, report only the amount shown in box 14 of your T4 slips on line 101.
Filing electronically or filing a paper return
Do not send any documents. Keep them in case we ask to see them at a later date.
We may request certification from the team president or other individual who fills a similar role of each eligible search and rescue organization, or the fire chief or delegated official of each fire department, confirming the number of hours of eligible search and rescue volunteer services or firefighting services performed by you for the particular organization in the year;
Forms and publications
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