"We protect your families - please protect ours," say professional fire fighters
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 said.
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