After productive discussions between British Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association (BCPFFA) leaders and British Columbia provincial government officials, the province is amending the Firefighters’ Occupational Disease Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) to add three cancers to the list of cancers presumed to be job-related, bringing the total to 16.
“Cancer has surpassed cardiac events as the leading cause of deaths among our members. We must do everything we can to protect them from all forms of this deadly disease,” says General President Edward Kelly. “I am very proud of the hard work our British Columbia brothers and sisters are doing to put these critical protections in place.”
“These changes to the WCA will ensure our members are better protected if they develop cancer as a result of on-the-job exposures,” says BCPFFA President Gordon Ditchburn. “We are especially grateful for the added gender-specific cancers for our female fire fighters. They are on the frontlines every day and deserve the same benefits and protections as their male counterparts.”
The three cancers added to the list of presumptions include: ovarian, cervical and penile. The amendment also includes a provision to ensure fire fighters will not have to work as long before being eligible for coverage for testicular (from 20 to 10 years), colorectal (from 20 to 10 years) and esophageal (from 25 to 20 years) cancers.
The 13 cancers already covered include: leukemia, brain, colorectal, testicular, breast, prostate, myeloma, bladder, ureter, lung, esophageal, kidney and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Since 1987, 89 of the 151 line-of-duty deaths in the province were the result of occupational cancer.