Emergency Services Volunteers

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Financial compensation that does not exceed $1,190 is tax-exempt if paid by a government, municipality or other public authority to a person who is:

  • a volunteer firefighter
  • a volunteer ambulance technician
  • a volunteer assisting in the search and rescue of individuals or in other emergency operations
Exception

The exemption does not apply if, during the year in question, the volunteer worked for the same organization that paid the financial compensation and he or she carried out duties that were similar or identical to those performed as a volunteer. For example, the exemption cannot be claimed by a volunteer firefighter who works for a municipality if he or she also has full-time or part-time employment with the municipality as a firefighter (whether the employment is permanent or the person has temporary employment as a replacement for a firefighter).

Source deductions of income tax

If the individual meets the above-mentioned requirements, only the portion of the financial compensation that exceeds $1,190 is subject to source deductions of income tax. Otherwise, the entire financial compensation is subject to source deductions of income tax.

Québec Pension Plan (QPP) contributions

If the volunteer meets the above-mentioned requirements, only the portion of the financial compensation that exceeds $1,190 is subject to employer and employee Québec Pension Plan (QPP) contributions. Otherwise, the entire financial compensation is subject to employer and employee QPP contributions.

However, if the volunteer participates in a rescue operation and is not regularly employed by the employer, the work is considered to be excepted employment, and none of the amounts paid to the volunteer (including financial compensation) are subject to employer and employee QPP contributions.

Québec parental insurance plan (QPIP) premiums

All amounts paid to an emergency services volunteer (including financial compensation) are subject to employer and employee Québec parental insurance plan (QPIP) premiums.

However, if the volunteer participates in a rescue operation and is not regularly employed by the employer and is employed for fewer than seven days in the year, the work is considered to be excepted employment, and none of the amounts paid to the volunteer (including financial compensation) are subject to employer and employee QPIP premiums.

Other employer contributions

If the volunteer meets the above-mentioned requirements, only the portion of the financial compensation that exceeds $1,190 is subject to the contribution to the health services fund and, if applicable, the contribution to the Workforce Skills Development and Recognition Fund (WSDRF). You must therefore include this portion in your total payroll used to calculate your health services fund contribution rate, your participation in workforce skills development and, if applicable, your contribution to the WSDRF.

However, that portion is not subject to the contribution related to labour standards.

Important

If a volunteer elects to claim either the non-refundable tax credit for volunteer firefighters or the non-refundable tax credit for volunteers participating in search and rescue activities in his or her income tax return, the volunteer must include in his or her employment income the entire amount he or she was paid (including the financial compensation). Despite this, the financial compensation is not subject to source deductions of income tax, QPP contributions, the contribution to the health services fund, the contribution related to labour standards, and, where applicable, the contribution to the WSDRF.

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