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New Orillia bylaw allows fire department to recover costs for its services like accidents

Orillia fire chief says he expects the fire department to recoup about $150,000 in 2024 — in all cases, funds will come from citizens' insurance companies
Orillia Fire Chief Michael Clark is shown in a file photo.

Orillia Fire is now permitted to recover costs from the city’s residents — through their insurance — for some of the emergency services it provides.

Since coming into effect Jan. 1, Bylaw 2023-124 allows the fire department to recover costs from residents for vehicle accidents and collisions, as well as structure fires.

Fire Chief Michael Clark said the move will help offset some of the fire department’s cost to taxpayers, and will not apply to residents without insurance coverage on their homes or vehicles.

“In both cases, there is a MTO rate fee ($560) per fire apparatus per hour,” Clark told OrilliaMatters in a statement. “Structure fires will include costs for volunteers. In all cases, the city will be sourcing funds from insurance companies.”

Clark estimates the bylaw, which was passed by council last December, will recoup $90,000 from vehicle collisions and $60,000 from structure fires over the course of 2024.

“Fire/accident responses include personnel costs, equipment maintenance, and other operational expenses. Charging residents with insurance for these services helps offset some of these costs, ensuring that the burden isn't entirely on taxpayers,” Clark said.

Cost recovery for certain services is not a new concept for the fire department, Clark said.

“For many years, Orillia Fire has collected fees to help recover costs for motor vehicle accidents that occur on provincial highways that run through Orillia. There are also fees associated for non-residents of Orillia who are involved in motor vehicle accidents within the city.”

Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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