Saskatchewan firefighters were in the legislature today when an amendment to include six new cancers for presumptive coverage under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 was announced.
Fire fighters will be able to file a Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claim for prostate, skin, breast, cervical and ovarian cancer, as well as multiple myeloma under the occupational disease presumption. This addition makes Saskatchewan a leader in Canada for the number of occupational diseases firefighters have presumptive coverage for.
“Firefighters are running toward danger as others run away, and face great risks when performing their duties in often challenging situations,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “They also face the potential of dealing with occupational diseases related to their chosen profession.”
The newly-added cancers also recognize the changing demographics among firefighters, with half the new cancers added primarily or only impacting women.
“This is an important day for firefighters across Saskatchewan,” Saskatchewan Professional Firefighters Association President Lloyd Zwack said. “We appreciate the government continuing to recognize the hazards we face every day and to know that they are just as committed to our long-term health as we are to keeping the province safe.”
To apply for Workers’ Compensation, applicants will need to provide a diagnosis and other required information from a medical professional to support their claim. More information can be found on the Workers’ Compensation Board website at www.wcbsask.com.
This bill also includes changes that will increase the number of members at the Workers’ Compensation Board.
The WCB will consist of seven board members:
• One full-time chairperson;
• Two full-time members (one representing workers and one representing employers); and
• Four part-time members (two representing workers and two representing employers).
The change is in response to a recommendation from the Workers’ Compensation Act Committee of Review made in 2016. Further public consultations in 2017 identified a general consensus that stakeholders would support an expansion of the board.