Arbitration Award Puts Five-Year Collective Agreement in Place for Firefighters

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Pumper Unit on River Street
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Pumper Unit on River Street

THUNDER BAY – Firefighters in Thunder Bay will receive backpay and a raise. Thunder Bay has received an Interest Arbitration Award for the Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters Association.

This award is determined by a provincially-appointed arbitrator, and is mandatory. It is a five year term collective agreement for the period January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2022 with general wage increases of:

  • 1.91% (January 1, 2018),
  • 1.91% (January 1, 2019),
  • 2.01% (January 1, 2020),
  • 0.97% (January 1, 2021), 0.95% (July 1, 2021), and
  • 0.86% (January 1, 2022) and 0.85% (July 1, 2022).

Today, a 1st Class Fire Fighter earns a base salary of $102,375 and by the end of the contract, a 1st Class Fire Fighter salary will be $106,498.

The award includes numerous increases and improvements to the benefit package including increases to paramedical services and a new health care spending account for new retirees. It also includes 20 additional paid leave days to conduct Thunder Bay Firefighter Association business and an enhanced overtime entitlement.

The City was awarded a new cap on dispensing fees.

“The decision adds to the increasing cost of providing emergency services and reinforces the need to address this fiscal challenge on a community and province-wide basis. Interest arbitration does not replicate free collective bargaining,” said Norm Gale, City Manager. “Although the Province has reformed the interest arbitration regimen for fire services, more reform is needed. We will continue to appeal to the Province for reform, and we will continue to work on controlling the growing costs of providing vital services.”

“We value and appreciate the hard work and dedication of our firefighters,” he added. “They provide a vital service to citizens and visitors to Thunder Bay.”

There remains no word from City Manager Gale on what happened with (former) Fire Chief  Hay. His message remains on the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue webpage.

The City is working closely with the Association of Municipalities Ontario and the large urban municipalities and regions of Ontario to address the issues related to the Province-wide arbitration processes and the costs of municipal emergency services.


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