Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Ontario set to improve cancer coverage for firefighters

By CJ Goater Nov 8, 2023 | 2:51 PM

Fire fighters rest and debrief after one of the training sessions (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

The Ford government is improving cancer coverage for firefighters and fire investigators by lowering the duration of employment needed to receive automatic compensation for a diagnosis of 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 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.”

To help workers dealing with a critical illness, the government will also be launching consultations on a new, job-protected leave to match the length of federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits, which is 26 weeks.

A job-protected leave could ensure employees who receive a diagnosis of cancer or other diseases will have the peace of mind that their job will be waiting for them while they seek treatment.

“Ontarians should be able to focus on their cancer treatment without worrying about what it means for their job or how their family will pay their bills,” said Hillary Buchan-Terrell, Advocacy Manager for the Canadian Cancer Society. “We look forward to engaging with the government during this consultation to ensure the perspectives and concerns of cancer patients in Ontario are heard.”