"We protect your families - please protect ours," say professional fire
BURLINGTON, ON, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's professional fire
fighters commend Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca for introducing
legislation at Queen's Park that will help fire fighters and their
families get the compensation they deserve for job-related illnesses
and deaths caused by six additional types of cancer.
Del Duca's bill, if passed, will amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act by adding testicular, breast, skin, lung and prostate cancer as well as
multiple myeloma to the list of those presumed job-related for the
purpose of WSIB benefits if they are contracted by a fire fighter with
a specified number of years on the job.
The legislation builds on so-called presumptive legislation passed in
2007 that deemed brain, bladder, kidney, ureter, esophageal and
colorectal cancers, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, and heart injury
within 24 hours after fighting a fire to be occupational in fire
fighters. If passed, Del Duca's bill will bring Ontario in line with
the occupational disease coverage that exists for professional fire
fighters in most other provinces.
Mark McKinnon, a Toronto fire fighter who is president of the
11,000-member Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, said he
is grateful to Del Duca for acting on an important issue and said the
bill merely reflects the frightening reality that fire fighters are
exposed to countless toxic substances in the course of their duties and
face higher risks for certain cancers as a result.
"Presumptive legislation is a matter of fairness for fire fighters and
our families, and we welcome legislation that strives to recognize more
of the cancers that studies have linked to our profession," McKinnon
The bill would cover cases of the six new cancers diagnosed on or after
January 1, 1980, and the coverage for skin, lung and prostate cancers
would be phased in at the beginning of 2014, 2015 and 2016
respectively. Coverage is rebuttable, which means the cancer is
presumed occupational unless the contrary is shown.
McKinnon urges all MPPs to look at the issue seriously and to support
Del Duca's bill in the legislature. "Our message to MPPs and to all
Ontarians is - we protect your families - please protect ours."
SOURCE: Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association
For further information:
Mark McKinnon, President
Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association