Alberta firefighters receive new cancer supports from province

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Above: Premier Notley and Minister Gray meet with Calgary firefighters (L-R) Mike Andrusco, Shalee Stair and Peter Cone at the Calgary Firefighters Training Academy. – GOA Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta says it is making sure firefighters who contract ovarian and cervical cancer will receive workers’ compensation benefits and supports. The minimum exposure period will be 10 years for these cancers. Government is also reducing the minimum exposure period from 20 to 10 years for compensation for testicular cancer.

Under Section 24.1 of the Workers’ Compensation Act a firefighter who suffers from a primary site cancer specified in the regulation shall be presumed to have an occupational disease, and eligible for Workers’ Compensation Board benefits.

The new rules adds ovarian and cervical cancers to the Firefighters’ Primary Site Cancer Regulation, established in 2003, and reduces the testicular cancer minimum by 10 years.

“Albertans know that firefighters represent what is best about us: courage, valour and sacrifice,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour. “We have their backs, and that’s why we are making Alberta a leader across the country by improving coverage for those who fight for us. We are ensuring that firefighters, regardless of their gender, get the help and support that they need.”

Alberta Fire Fighters Association President Craig Macdonald said his organization applauds the government for expanding cancer protections for Alberta firefighters.

“Firefighters are six times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, and adding female reproductive cancers not only strengthens the diversity of our profession, it makes Alberta a leader in the fire service,” Macdonald said.

There are currently more than 14,000 full-time, part-time, casual and volunteer firefighters serve Albertans. Approximately 80 per cent of the province’s firefighters are volunteers. Roughly eight per cent are women.

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