'We know the risks that they face': More health coverage added for firefighters with cancer
SASKATOON – Saskatchewan firefighters battling more than just flames will soon be entitled to greater compensation.
As of Friday, firefighters will be able to file claims for six additional cancers through Saskatchewan's Workers’ Compensation Board.
The changes include coverage for myeloma, prostate, skin, breast, cervical and ovarian cancer.
“We know the risks that they face and want to continue to provide the supports they need,” Saskatchewan’s workplace safety minister Don Morgan said in a news release.
The claims are listed under “presumptive coverage,” which means if a firefighter is diagnosed with the listed cancers, it’s presumed the disease is related to their work.
Jared Benson, Saskatoon firefighter and treasurer with the Saskatoon Firefighters Union, said firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than other professions.
“There's a lot of carcinogens in smoke, and in the by-products of fires burning. There’s a better chance than not we get exposed and get some of these cancers,” Benson said.
From 2010 to 2018, 28 Saskatchewan firefighters died from cancers associated with the line of duty, according to the Ministry of Labour Relations.
The new coverage will include claims made by professional, volunteer and retired firefighters.
“I think that's great news. Many of the firefighters who do become sick will then have the opportunity for extra care which I think is important,” Martensville Fire Chief Dean Brooman told CTV News.