A recent change by SGI will see fire departments paid at a flat rate while responding to motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) on provincial highways.

Last weeks alteration will now see fire departments across Saskatchewan make $913 for every hour spent at a collision on provincial highways this year, nearly double the amount they sometimes received previously. 

Before the change, fire departments would be paid depending on if their time was classed as productive ($913 per hour) or non-productive ($549 per hour).

Denis Pilon, fire chief with the Swift Current Fire Department, said they've pushed for this change for a number of years and are happy to see it finally make it through.

"It's a start and this is a positive move don't get me wrong," he stated. "I think they've made a good decision here and we support it but we think there is more to go with it."

Currently SUMA is continuing to work with SGI in hopes of increasing the productive call rate to $1,200 per hour, something Pilon said is where the set amount should be.

"We lose money going to accident scenes a lot of the time because we aren't paid for what it actually costs to run our firefighters, trucks, and equipment out there," he explained.

Pilon went onto say that SUMA, SARM, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association, and Saskatchewan Association of Fire Chiefs completed a study on what the cost is to attend an MVC on a provincial highway and the dollar amount was roughly $1,200 per hour.