Manitoba amends compensation act to enhance firefighters’ health supports

The province is making changes to the Workers Compensation Act with the goal of helping Manitoba firefighters, Premier Heather Stefanson announced Friday.

The new additions to the act are primary site thyroid, pancreatic, ovarian, cervical and penile cancers.

“Each and every single day, firefighters in every community of our province put their lives at risk to help those in need and for that, we are deeply grateful,” said Stefanson.

“We recognize firefighters are at a heightened risk of contracting various cancers due to the nature of their work and the inevitable exposure to carcinogens on the job, despite all efforts to prevent and mitigate exposure risks. We are pleased to work with the firefighters association to make these changes that will enhance supports and benefits for their members.”

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This marks the latest addition to the list of cancers, which was added to the act in 2002 and has gone through numerous rounds of updates over the years. The latest change expands protection for women on the front lines.

“This support for our sisters in the fire service to have equal protection as their male counterparts would not have been possible without Heather Stefanson becoming our premier,” said Manitoba Professional Firefighters Association head Alex Forrest.

“These additions to the firefighters’ presumptive cancer list will make Manitoba’s legislation one of the strongest in the world.

“Our legislation will be a template for proper WCB (Workers’ Compensation Board) support for firefighters around the world being diagnosed with occupational cancers they received due to the exposures they encountered while simply doing their job.”

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