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Amendments Will Provide Increased Cancer Coverage for Firefighters

Amendments were introduced to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 that will see presumptive coverage for six new types of cancer. This will bring the presumptive coverage to 22 types of cancer; the most of any Canadian jurisdiction. 

This coverage would include:

  • primary site penile cancer;
  • primary site pancreatic cancer;
  • primary site thyroid cancer;
  • primary site soft tissue sarcoma;
  • primary site mesothelioma; and
  • primary site laryngeal cancer.

“Firefighters face risks and hazards every day as they work to keep citizens and our communities safe,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don McMorris said. “Providing additional coverage for occupational cancers is an important way we can help support firefighters and their families.”

“I am pleased with the government’s choice to expand firefighter cancer coverage,” Saskatchewan Firefighters and Paramedics Association President Lloyd Zwack said. “This will have a positive impact on the long-term health of firefighters.”

Other amendments introduced to the Act include:

  • changing the definition of worker to remove executive officers and include secondary and post-secondary students in recognized programs as well as the ability to add other categories of workers in the regulations;
  • amending the privacy provisions to: (1) mirror The Health Information Protection Act; (2) provide for administrative penalties if a privacy breach occurs; and (3) simplify the process for releasing information during reconsideration or review of a decision on compensation claims;
  • requiring all appeal tribunal decisions with rationale to be published;
  • covering the expenses associated with transporting a deceased worker’s body to the usual residence outside Canada;
  • providing compensation to a worker’s dependent children when the worker passes away from a non-work-related injury while on compensation no matter the length of time on compensation;
  • simplifying the medical review panel process;
  • increasing the permanent functional impairment award over a four-year period and indexing afterward; and
  • indexing the independence allowance.

“These legislative amendments will help ensure the workers’ compensation legislation is current and address concerns from employers and injured workers and their families,” McMorris said.

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