Ontario increases cancer coverage for firefighters

Ontario is extending workplace protection for firefighters by adding six cancers to the list of those presumed to be related to their work.
Breast cancer, multiple myeloma and testicular cancer will be added to the list immediately. Prostate cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer will be phased in by 2017.

These changes will make it easier for firefighters to qualify for benefits by reversing the burden of proof for those seeking coverage under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

"As Ontario firefighters protect our families in their time of need, this new regulation will ensure that their families are protected in their time of need," said Tadeusz Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal and chief of emergency management.

The extension of presumptive status for the six additional cancers will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 1960, and apply to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters and fire investigators.

In 2007, the Ontario government added eight cancers to the presumed list of diseases that are work-related: brain cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, certain types of leukemia, esophageal cancer and ureter cancer.

There are about 450 fire departments in Ontario, made up of about 11,000 full-time firefighters, 19,000 volunteer firefighters and 200 part-time firefighters. Quotes