06/01/2011

Bill 181, An Act to Amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, was passed at the Legislature, after Third Reading.

Highlights:

Bill 181, An Act to Amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, was passed at the Legislature, after Third Reading.

Bill 181 allows mandatory retirement at age 60 for the Province’s salaried firefighters, standardizing retirement age across Ontario. The changes will not apply to volunteer firefighters.

The new legislation will require municipalities that do not already have a mandatory retirement age for firefighters to negotiate a new retirement provision into their collective agreements within two years.

AMO Analysis: 

AMO is pleased that Bill 181 does not apply to volunteer firefighters who make up a significant part of rural and northern fire departments across the Province.

Bill 181 provides that fire departments may consider full-time firefighters 60 years or older who wish to continue employment if there is no undue hardship to the employer.  However, they must take into account the costs and health and safety requirements of doing so.  Municipal employers will ultimately incur the cost of creating and training firefighters for new positions where fire departments have deemed it appropriate to do so.  This could negatively affect other municipal employees and provoke labour relations issues that the municipalities would be required to fund.

AMO is still concerned about the Labour Board’s remedial powers pursuant to section 46.2(5) (d), which require the employer to reinstate and compensate a firefighter when the Labour Board has determined that the union has failed to fulfill its duty of fair representation.  Where this occurs, municipalities will be required to compensate the firefighter, rather than the union doing so.

Bill 181 may generate additional labour relations activities for the municipal employer.  AMO will monitor closely any litigation that may ensue because of Bill 181 and keep its members apprised.