The provincial government is making it easier for firefighters to receive Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) benefits for certain types of cancer.
Six types of cancer — prostate, skin, cervical, ovarian, breast and multiple myleoma — are being added to the list of presumptive coverage diseases for Saskatchewan’s firefighters.
“Firefighters are running toward danger as others run away, and face great risks when performing their duties in often challenging situations,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said in a release.
“They also face the potential of dealing with occupational diseases related to their chosen profession.”
Firefighters are known to be at higher risk for developing cancer, due to carcinogens released in burning buildings from synthetic materials.
Lloyd Zwack, president of the Saskatchewan Professional Firefighters’ Association, said the change marked an important day for his colleagues.
“We appreciate the government continuing to recognize the hazards we face every day and to know that they are just as committed to our long-term health as we are to keeping the province safe,” he said in the statement.
Half of the cancers being added only affect women, which the province said reflected changing demographics in Saskatchewan fire halls.
The amendment made by the government also increased the size of the WCB board to seven members.