Province makes it easier for firefighters diagnosed with some cancers to get benefits

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Dawson Currie Photo

Firefighters diagnosed with thyroid and pancreatic cancers will have faster access to benefits.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced Friday WSIB will presume both thyroid and pancreatic cancer are linked to firefighting.

Expanded coverage for claims related to thyroid and pancreatic cancers would be retroactive to January 1, 1960. These changes would apply to full-time, volunteer, and part-time firefighters, firefighters employed by First Nations band councils and fire investigators. Making the cancers presumptive will take the burden off the firefighters to prove there is a link between their work and the cancers.

“By expanding the list of presumptive cancers to include thyroid and pancreatic cancers, firefighters will get faster access to compensation and other benefits, ultimately supporting their recovery,” says McNaughton in a news release.

Firefighters die of cancer at a rate up to four times higher than the general population. On average, 50 to 60 firefighters die of cancer yearly in Canada, and half from Ontario.