Ontario Increases Cancer Coverage for Firefighters
Cervical, Ovarian, and Penile Cancer Presumption Will Expedite Compensation
Ontario is making it easier for firefighters to get the help and care they need by extending the presumption for entitlement to benefits to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers.
By adding the three cancers to the list of cancers presumed to be related to their work, firefighters and fire investigators will have greater access to healthcare and compensation. With the expanded presumption, once a firefighter is diagnosed with cervical, ovarian or penile cancer, the claims process for WSIB benefits will be expedited, and firefighters will not be required to prove a causal link between these cancers and a workplace exposure.
Claims related to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers will be retroactive to January 1, 1960. This will apply to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters, firefighters employed by band councils and fire investigators.
Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- In 2007, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) was amended to create a statutory presumption for firefighters and fire investigators to get compensation for heart injuries and certain cancers without having to prove they are work-related.
- In 2014, the Ontario government amended the Firefighter Regulation under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to add six cancers to the list of diseases that are work-related: multiple myeloma, testicular, breast, prostate, lung and skin cancer.
- This amended regulation makes Ontario among the leaders in this area and Ontario’s firefighters among the best protected in Canada.
- 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.
- Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997
“Firefighters are vital to keeping our communities safe from life-threatening dangers. Every day, they risk their health and their lives to protect us and our communities. In return, we must protect them. That’s why the government has made it easier for firefighters and fire investigators to qualify for workplace safety and insurance benefits.”
“If a firefighter is diagnosed with cervical, ovarian or penile cancer, the worker’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claim for benefits and services will be presumed to be work-related. This will give firefighters faster access to compensation and other benefits, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes.”