Firefighter occupational disease coverage expanded

Recent amendments to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the Act) have expanded the list of occupational diseases covered by the rebuttable presumption for firefighters. The expanded list now includes six additional cancers that were not previously covered by the WCB.

“The added cancers recognize the changing demographics among firefighters, with half of the additional cancers impacting females,” said Phillip Germain, CEO of the Workers’ Compensation Board.

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The expanded list of occupational diseases covered by the rebuttable presumption for firefighters came into effect Nov. 15, 2019 and include:

primary-site prostate cancer
primary-site skin cancer
multiple myeloma
primary-site breast cancer
primary-site cervical cancer
primary-site ovarian cancer

Amendments to the firefighters’ presumptive coverage include coverage for volunteer and part-time firefighters who are or have been exposed to the hazards of a fire scene, other than a forest fire.

The WCB is reviewing old claims that were not previously covered under the Act to determine if they would be an acceptable work injury under the new legislation. The new presumptions will apply to previously submitted WCB injury claims and to any new claims with injury dates prior to the legislative amendment.

Firefighters with WCB claims can request a re-evaluation of an old decision. The request will be considered by the WCB team responsible for the most recent decision.

For more information about changes to the rebuttable presumption for firefighters, visit the WCB website at


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