Firefighter cancer Bill C-224 has passed
By Government of CanadaHeadlines Industry News News Health and Wellness cancer firefighters
June 26, 2023, Ottawa – Bill C-224, an Act to establish a national framework for the prevention and treatment of cancers linked to fire fighting, received royal assent on June 22 and will become law.
Bill C-224 was introduced by Quebec MP Sherry Romanado in January 2022.
“Cancer is responsible for over 85 per cent of all duty-related deaths among firefighters in Canada. Awareness, education and information sharing are critical to the prevention and early detection of the cancers linked to firefighting,” Romanado said in a government press release. “This bill represents concrete action to better protect the health and safety of the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. That it passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate is a testament to the high regard in which our country’s holds its firefighters and the essential work they do.”
Through Bill C-224, starting next year, the month of January will be declared “Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month” throughout Canada. This important declaration will raise awareness about cancers linked to fire fighting and best practices to prevent these cancers.
The royal assent of Bill C-224 builds on commitments to implement an action plan to protect people in Canada, including firefighters, from exposure to toxic flame retardants found in household products, reported the federal government. It also expands the federal government’s action plan to protect firefighters from harmful chemicals released during household fires, which was announced in August 2021.
Over the next year, Health Canada plans to develop a national framework that raises awareness of cancers linked to fire fighting, that supports improved access for firefighters to cancer prevention and treatment, and that provides a common direction for stakeholders to address cancer among firefighters.
Specifically, Bill C-224 paves the way for Health Canada to support valuable research on the link between certain types of cancer and fire fighting, make recommendations regarding regular screenings for cancers linked to fire fighting, and promote research and improve data collection on the prevention and treatment of cancers linked to firefighting.
Health Canada is engaging with stakeholders to inform the development of the national framework and will work with all relevant parties to better protect firefighters in the line of duty, stated the press release.
“The development of a national framework will raise awareness, promote research and improve prevention and treatments of cancers linked to firefighting,” said federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos in the statement.
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