Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Ontario expands esophageal cancer coverage for firefighters

By Government of Ontario   

Headlines News cancer firefighters

Welland, Ont. — Ontario is improving cancer coverage for firefighters and fire investigators by lowering the duration of employment needed to receive presumed (automatic) compensation prior to diagnosis with esophageal cancer from 25 to 15 years.

This means a firefighter with 24 years of service would no longer have to contest that their esophageal cancer was work-related, giving them faster access to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits and other critical services.

“Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer that is rarely detected until the cancer is in its advanced stage, recent research has shown that the appropriate latency period should be 15 years,” said Greg Horton, president of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association. “We thank Ontario’s elected leaders for recognizing that the legislation requires updating to ensure that firefighters, such as Welland Captain Craig Bowman, don’t slip through the cracks, and that they and their families receive fair treatment should they become ill, disabled or die because of their occupation and service to the public.”

The government is also expected to launch consultations on a new, job-protected leave to match the length of federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits. Additionally, it will introduce legislation that would, if passed, support injured workers by enabling “super indexing” increases to WSIB benefits above the annual rate of inflation.


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