Executive Council
Service NL
December 12, 2016

Supporting Our Firefighters

Provincial Government Introduces Presumptive Cancer Coverage for Firefighters

The Provincial Government has advanced an amendment to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act and Regulations to provide presumptive cancer coverage for the province’s career and volunteer firefighters. Adding a presumptive clause to the legislation means a firefighter who serves for a specified period of time and develops a specific form of cancer will be presumed to have developed that cancer as a result of their work, and can avail of worker’s compensation benefits.

“Our government is proud to provide a benefit that firefighters have been seeking for more than a decade and is already provided in most other provinces. This was recommended by statutory reviews of the Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission in 2006 and 2013 and is long overdue. I am also pleased this new benefit will not increase the assessment rates currently paid by employers who fund the worker’s compensation system. This legislation is another example of how our government listens to people and creates beneficial change through their feedback.”
- The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

With this legislative amendment, qualifying firefighters will receive wage-loss benefits, medical aids, and certain other benefits through WorkplaceNL, while health care costs associated with firefighters’ cancer treatment will be paid through the Medical Care Plan. Structuring benefits in this way reduces demand on the WorkplaceNL Injury Fund.

“I am very pleased to bring forward legislation that responds to calls from both career and volunteer firefighters for presumptive cancer coverage, strengthens the Workplace Health and Safety Compensation system within the province and delivers on a key election commitment early in our government’s mandate.”
- The Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister Responsible for WorkplaceNL

The 11 types of cancer that will be covered are:
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Testicular cancer
  • Ureter cancer

“It is satisfying to see years of advocacy work on this issue being rewarded, and career firefighters throughout the province appreciate the Provincial Government’s responsiveness on this issue. Firefighters will continue to answer the call, knowing that there are measures in place to support them, should they require this new benefit in the future.”
- Doug Cadigan, President, International Association of Firefighters, Local 1075

For firefighters to qualify for the benefit, they will need to submit documentation that includes their term of service, the nature of their work, and the number of times they fought fires in their career.

“This coverage will offer much needed protection to many volunteer firefighters who may encounter serious health problems resulting from the valuable work they did protecting their communities. Government’s decision to include volunteer firefighters in this legislation respects the fact that many communities throughout the province rely heavily on volunteers and we appreciate that this was recognized.”
- Duane Antle, President, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services

There are approximately 350 active career firefighters and 5,900 active volunteer firefighters in the province.

QUICK FACTS

  • The Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act and Regulations are being amended to provide presumptive cancer coverage for career and volunteer firefighters.
  • This legislation satisfies another commitment in Minister Joyce’s mandate letter: www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/cabinet/ministers/pdf/Minister_Joyce_Mandate.pdf PDF
  • WorkplaceNL can be reached by email via general.inquiries@workplacenl.ca or by phone at 1-800-563-9000.
  • There are approximately 350 active career firefighters and 5,900 active volunteer firefighters in the province.
Provincial Government Honours Commitment to Firefighters

- 30 -

Media contacts:

Michelle Cannizzarro
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
michellecannizzaro@gov.nl.ca
Gina MacArthur
Media Relations Manager
Service NL
709-729-4748, 730-2977
ginamacarthur@gov.nl.ca
Doug Cadigan
President, St. John's Firefighters
Association, IAFF Local 1075
709-631-4199
dcadigan@sjffa.ca
Duane Antle
President, Newfoundland and Labrador
Association of Fire Services
709-542-3494
duaneantle@live.ca

2016 12 12                              12:10 p.m.