Overtime so costly, hiring will save half a million for Fire Services


The Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services have been asking to increase the complement of firefighters for years and now, as overtime costs are so high that hiring four full-time staff will save the City money.

How much? Pretty close to half a million dollars.

This is a matter coming to city council on Monday.

In 2019, overtime costs accounted for $749,168.

In 2020, overtime costs were $705,738.

In 2021, overtime cost added up to $822,170.

And last year, overtime costs were $895,943.

City council approved a minimum on-duty staffing level to fifteen firefighters and one communications operator, totaling sixteen on duty at all times back in 2018.

Currently, there are four platoons with nineteen staff per platoon.

Only three in a platoon can be off-duty at a time.

If there is an emergency, the fire chief can force firefighters back to work on their days off and currently says there is burnout factor affecting fire services.

This issue has come to council many times in the past and past city councilors like Paul Christian have argued about overtime costs asking fire services to find ways to save money.

When applying the 7,728 hours worked by the addition of four firefighters to the average overtime hours of 11,661 shows that a new average of overtime would be 3,933. Using our 3-year trend and the average hourly rate of overtime, the cost of overtime is reduced to an average of $258,180 – compared to the budgeted amount of $705,920 for 2022. A savings of approximately $447,740.


  1. John F…. Besides being extremely jealous that firefighters have side jobs, what business is it of yours what Firefighters, Police, PUC, Algoma Steel workers, or anyone for that matter do on their time off? If firefighters want to work on their days off thats there business and certainly not yours. What are these certifications you claim Firefighters received while working and use as “side hustles” to make extra money? Based on your knowledge of paramedics compensation and firefighter certifications, it sounds to me that you are a disgruntled EMS person, perhaps got declined for a firefighter’s position?

    Here’s some advice stay in your own lane and don’t worry about others.

  2. You aren’t wrong! So many have at least 1 if not 2 or 3 side gigs, and are making 6 digits on our dime to begin with… Some are even doing side hustles utilizing the certifications that they were provided by tax paying dollars! There needs to be consideration in the contracts that although they are on a 24 hour shift, there is multiple hours when they are sleeping on our dime, why is that not considered more of an “on call” thing than a full pay thing. You look at the EMS services in the district, they work 12 hours then they are “on-call” for 12 hours and get paid an on-call fee and then paid for when they go out on a call during the “on-call” time. Many of them sleep at the base, etc. but are not being paid a full wage to do so, why are the firefighters?

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