Members of County of Grande Prairie council approved and ratified the new collective bargaining agreement between the municipality and County of Grande Prairie Professional Firefighters’ Association. The deal, for which negotiations began back in February 2020, will retroactively give approximately 65 employees a 2 per cent pay bump from January 1st, 2020 and another 2 per cent raise retroactive to January 1st, 2021.

County of Grande Prairie Community Services Director Dan Lemieux says having the new agreement going into effect for a time frame nearly two years ago shows the impact the pandemic had on nearly all facets of the process.

“It took a long time because these negotiations are best done face to face,” Lemieux says “We experienced a number of delays, mostly due to COVID-19, for sure it was a long process, but we are very happy with the outcome.”

Lemieux says they will kick off negotiations for the next collective agreement likely in Spring 2022, and is hopeful the respectful and productive relationship between the two sides continues from the last round of bargaining.

“The working relationship between the administration and the association is important, and that takes time to work through these processes,” he says.

“Hopefully the next process will be a little easier because hopefully, we’re through some of this COVID-19 stuff, so certainly the face to face will be more productive for sure.”

The agreement primarily covers Firefighters working out of the Dunes and Clairmont fire halls.