New Cancer Supports for Alberta Firefighters

New rules mean firefighters who contract certain reproductive cancers on the job will now be compensated and supported.

Premier Notley and Minister Gray meet with Calgary firefighters (L-R) Mike Andrusco, Shalee Stair and Peter Cone at the Calgary Firefighters Training Academy.

The Government of Alberta is making sure firefighters who contract ovarian and cervical cancer will receive workers’ compensation benefits and supports, making Alberta the leader in Canada. The minimum exposure period will be 10 years for these cancers. Government is also reducing the minimum exposure period from 20 to 10 years for compensation for testicular cancer.

“To the brave men and women who serve Alberta every day as firefighters: thank you. We have a deep respect for your work, as you protect our lives, environment and homes. We stand with you and we will make sure you have the financial and medical supports you need if you are battling cancer.”

~Rachel Notley, Premier

“Albertans know that firefighters represent what is best about us: courage, valour and sacrifice. We have their backs and that’s why we are making Alberta a leader across the country by improving coverage for those who fight for us. We are ensuring that firefighters, regardless of their gender, get the help and support that they need.”

~Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

“The Alberta Fire Fighters Association applauds the Government of Alberta for expanding cancer protections for Alberta firefighters. Firefighters are six times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, and adding female reproductive cancers not only strengthens the diversity of our profession, it makes Alberta a leader in the fire service.”

~Craig Macdonald, president, Alberta Fire Fighters Association

“My fellow firefighters and I are pleased with the progressive steps the Government of Alberta has taken with the addition of female-specific reproductive cancers to the WCB presumptive coverage.”

~Jennifer Buehler, firefighter-paramedic, Red Deer Fire Fighters Association

Quick facts

  • More than 14,000 full-time, part-time, casual and volunteer firefighters serve Albertans.
  • Approximately eight per cent of Alberta firefighters are women.
  • Approximately 80 per cent of firefighters are volunteers.
  • The Firefighters’ Primary Site Cancer Regulation came into effect in 2003 and is part of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • Section 24.1 of the Workers’ Compensation Act states that if a firefighter suffers from a primary site cancer of a type specified in the regulation, that cancer shall be presumed to be an occupational disease, and therefore eligible for Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) benefits. The Government of Alberta is making regulatory amendments to:
    • Reduce the minimum exposure period for testicular cancer from 20 to 10 years.
    • Add female-specific cancer types: ovarian and cervical cancer (minimum exposure period at 10 years).
    • Remove the expiry date of the regulation.

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