Nova Scotia is adding 13 types of cancer to its workers’ compensation insurance for firefighters.
The provincial government said Tuesday it is following through on its commitment to increase presumptive coverage from six to 19 cancers and also covers heart attacks that occur within 24 hours of an emergency call.
Additional coverage will be in amendments to regulations made under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Cancers added are esophagus, lung, testis, ureter, breast, multiple myeloma, prostate, skin, ovary, cervix, penis, thyroid, and pancreas .
There is currently coverage for bladder, brain, colorectal and kidney cancer, as well as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Labor Minister Jill Balser said around 6,600 firefighters and their families will benefit from the changes, which are expected to come into effect on July 1.
“Firefighters put their health and lives at risk every day,” Premier Tim Houston said in a news release. “Those who protect us should, in turn, be protected by their government and have access to the workers’ compensation coverage they need when they need it.”
Under the changes, firefighters diagnosed with cancer since July 1, 2021 will be able to access expanded benefits.
The provincial government will cover the total cost of the liability of $80.6 million over four fiscal years. He said municipalities will not incur additional liability costs until 2025-26.
“These protections are the most significant improvements in Canada’s history to presumptive firefighter cancer coverage, taking Nova Scotia firefighters from the least protected in Canada to the most protected,” Capt Brendan said. Meagher, president of Halifax Professional Firefighters Local 268. Press release.
According to the Department of Labour, more than 6,000 volunteer firefighters and 600 paid firefighters work in Nova Scotia.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 22, 2022.