Health and wellness
Alberta firefighters to receive presumptive coverage for 20 different cancers
The regulation applies to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters employed by a municipality or Metis Settlement
April 11, 2023 By FFIC Staff
April 11, 2023, Fort McMurray, Alta. – All Alberta firefighters will now receive presumptive coverage for 20 different cancers. This comes after the province expanded presumptive coverage for the firefighters who fought the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. Alberta has also reduced the exposure time requirement for a cancer that is already on the list.
A recent amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act eliminates the minimum exposure periods for cancers listed in the regulation for firefighters who fought the Fort McMurray wildfire between May 1 and June 1, 2016.
The Firefighters’ Primary Site Cancer Regulation now includes pancreatic, thyroid, mesothelioma and soft tissue sarcoma cancers as eligible for workers’ compensation presumptions for all firefighters, and the existing minimum exposure period for colorectal cancer has been reduced to 15 years from 20.
By expanding the list of cancers covered, firefighter the cancer claims being sent to the Workers Compensation Board of Alberta will be handled faster for these 20 cancers to ensure firefighters get the coverage they deserve sooner. The province said it would continue to follow the evidence and expand this list to maintain the province’s leadership in Canada.
“Cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters in North America. Research shows the profession of firefighting is carcinogenic to humans,” said Matt Osborne, president of the Alberta Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association. “When buildings burn, it is a toxic soup of chemicals. Firefighters and their families greatly appreciate the Government of Alberta adding these needed WCB coverages. Alberta is now leading Canada again in the number of presumptive cancers covered.”
The regulation applies to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters employed by a municipality or Metis Settlement who are exposed to fire scene hazards, excluding forest fires. Alberta said it is committed to providing essential supports and services to ensure healthy and safe workplaces across the province.
“These steps are of significant importance in showing appreciation for firefighters in Alberta,” said Randy Schroeder, president of the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association. “The addition of four new cancers to the workers’ compensation presumption list and a reduction of the minimum exposure period for an existing cancer on the list is a positive step towards ensuring that firefighters and their families receive the support they need recognizing the dangers they may face every day. This decision recognizes the unique risks that firefighters face in their line of work and shows a commitment to their well-being.”
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