Jump to content

Firefighters laud rule change on lung cancer claims


Recommended Posts

Firefighters laud rule change on lung cancer claims

Email Print Letter to Editor Share

Tri-City / Maple Ridge

Clement says no special rules for Chrysler

Real IRA claims shooting of British soldiers

Irish republican group claims new N.Ireland killing


By Jeff Nagel - The Tri-City News

Published: March 17, 2009 11:00 AM

Updated: March 17, 2009 11:40 AM


Firefighters who don't smoke but are diagnosed with lung cancer will no longer have to fight to gain workers' compensation benefits.

The cancer is now being recognized by the provincial government as among the occupational diseases faced by firefighters as a result of their exposure to smoke and toxic fumes.

Legislation was introduced last week that will automatically trigger eligibility for benefits.

Lung cancer in non-smoking firefighters will now be presumed to be from workplace exposure and claims will only be denied if Worksafe BC proves the disease was caused by another source. The change will be retroactive to May 27, 2008, when the province first announced its intention.

Previously, firefighters had to spend thousands of dollars to compile scientific and medical evidence connecting their cancer to workplace exposure.

"We're elated," said B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Association president Michael Hurley.

"It's an emotional time for firefighters," he said, adding many who will now gain benefits have been through long disputes over their claims.

"Instead of trying to get healthy or trying to get chemo or whatever they were going through scraps with WorkSafe to ensure their families were able to pay the mortgage."

Hurley said firefighters will continue to press for the inclusion of esophagial cancer as well.

New Democrat MLAs said they will vote for the lung cancer amendment and will also support the government if it decides to go further and also add esophagial cancer.

NDP MLA Chuck Puchmayr noted there are still firefighters suffering from lung cancer who won't be compensated because they were diagnosed before last spring when the government agreed to make the change.

"They may still lose their lives — in my opinion, in the line of duty — but according to the government's reluctance to bring this forward earlier, they will not be categorized as dying in the line of duty," he said. "They will merely go without being compensated."

Labour minister Iain Black said it's the ninth cancer added to the list of presumed occupational diseases for firefighters.

"In five short years, British Columbia has gone from not having any recognition of a presumptive nature with respect to cancers for our firefighter community to being a leader in Canada."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.