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Alberta, Saskatchewan extend cancer coverage

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Alberta, Saskatchewan extend cancer coverage
Amendments to workers’ compensation acts in Alberta and Saskatchewan mean more cancer coverage will be provided to the provinces’ respective volunteer and career firefighters.

May 11, 2011
By The Canadian Press

May 11, 2011 – Amendments to workers’ compensation acts in Alberta and Saskatchewan mean more cancer coverage will be provided to the provinces’ respective volunteer and career firefighters.

Alberta's Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk tabled amendments to the Workers'
Compensation Act that will apply to 10,000 volunteer, part-time, and
casual firefighters exposed to cancerous chemicals while battling blazes.

Under Bill 20, firefighters will receive compensation for 14 presumptive
cancers without shouldering the burden of proof, provided they have
been regularly exposed to the hazards of a fire scene.

The change brings these crews in line with the province's 3,500 full-time firefighters.

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Alberta's opposition Liberals applauded the change, but wanted work done
to see if it could be expanded to other workers facing similar risks
from these cancers, such as farmers.

British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, the Northwest
Territories and Nunavut have similar coverage for part-time
firefighters.

Meanwhile, the
Saskatchewan government is adding esophageal cancer to the list of
cancers considered occupational diseases for the province's full-time,
professional firefighters.

Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan says the amendment to the Workers'
Compensation Act signals the government's intent to cover risks posed by
toxins, carcinogens and cancer-causing agents in the daily work of
firefighters.

There will be a minimum employment requirement period.

No incremental costs to the Workers Compensation Board are expected with
this legislation, since esophageal cancer claims are already accepted
by the board if there is sufficient evidence establishing a causal link
to the work performed.
 


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