Nova Scotia Makes Good on Promise to Expand Presumptive Coverage

March 23 • 2022

IAFF members in Nova Scotia and their families will soon benefit from presumptive coverage for more types of cancer and heart attacks. Specifically, the province has committed to expanding presumptive coverage from six to 19 cancers, as well as heart attacks that occur within 24 hours of an emergency call.

The 13 types of cancer added to the Firefighters Compensation Regulations include esophageal, lung, testicular, ureter, breast, multiple myeloma, prostate, skin, ovarian, cervical, penile, thyroid and pancreatic. These supplement the existing coverage for bladder, brain, colorectal and kidney cancer, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“Cancer continues to be the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among fire fighters,” says General President Edward Kelly. “I commend the government of Nova Scotia for keeping its commitment to protecting the fire fighters who put their lives on the line every day. Now our Nova Scotia members will have increased coverage should they get sick on the job.”

“These protections are the most significant improvements in fire fighter presumptive cancer coverage in Canadian history, bringing Nova Scotia’s fire fighters from the least protected in Canada to the most protected,” says President of Halifax, NS Local 268 Brendan Meagher. “On behalf of fire fighters and our families, I thank the government for keeping their word to Nova Scotia’s fire fighters. This is a great day!”

The changes, which make Nova Scotia one of the leading provinces in Canada for presumptive coverage for fire fighters, are effective July 1, 2022. The province will cover the total liability cost of $80.6 million for four fiscal years. Municipalities will not incur additional liability costs until 2025-2026.

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration reviewed multiple studies and consulted fire fighters, organizations representing fire fighters and municipal representatives throughout the province on revising the regulations.

“Fire fighters put their health at risk and their lives on the line every day,” says Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston. “Those who protect us should, in turn, be protected by their government and have access to the workplace injury coverage they need when they need it.”