NEWS
09/15/2014 09:56 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST

Firefighters 'confident' they can improve response times

The Montreal fire department acknowledged on Monday that its response times had a “dramatic increase” over the months of July and August.

Assistant fire department director Richard Liebmann told CBC Daybreak on Monday that the numbers were hard to ignore.

“We look at the statistics at the end of the month, and we noticed a trend that we could confirm and couldn’t ignore, so we had to act,” Liebmann said.

He said that response times began to slide in June and increased dramatically over July and August.

Last week, the city filed a complaint with Quebec’s labour relations board over the slowed response times, accusing firefighters of using it as a pressure tactic in the ongoing dispute over Bill 3.

Bill 3 is Quebec’s proposed legislation to reform pension plan contributions for municipal employees across the province.

On Sunday the labour relations board ordered the city’s firefighters' union and its leaders to “take all necessary measures” to ensure fires are responded to without delay.

“The majority of the firefighters were already doing their job very well professionally, but we saw there was an increase in response times that we had to respond to, and we want to make sure that falls back into line while responding quickly, efficiently and safely,” Liebmann said.

“I’m quite confident that we’ll bounce right back,” he continued.