The western province of British Columbia is making it easier for firefighters to get compensation for cancers it considers to be an occupational hazard. After having worked for a certain period of time, firefighters who develop certain cancers can get compensation benefits without having to prove the illnesses are related to their work.
Many cancers linked to firefighting
That list has just been expanded to include breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma. The original list of ten includes brain, bladder, colorectal and other cancers.
“On the job, firefighters are exposed to very real hazards and their work saves lives and keeps our communities safe,” said Shirley Bond, the minister responsible for labour.
Firefighters face ‘tremendous risks’
“That is why we’re enabling regulatory changes to support three new cancer presumptions for them. This change is a meaningful step that acknowledges the tremendous risks firefighters take any time they are called to duty,” said Bond.
Gord Ditchburn of the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association thanked the government and said, “Firefighters are exposed to toxic environments that greatly contribute to increased cancer risks, more than double that of the general population.”