The Province of BC will now recognize three more cancers to the already existing list of 13 that firefighters are at risk of developing.

Ovarian, penile, and cervical cancers will now be added to the list of cancers firefighters may develop on duty. This means that the worker’s coverage will now be extended to these types of cancers.

The amendments added gender-specific cancers to the list as women are increasingly joining the ranks of firefighters including many volunteer personnel in Indigenous communities.

“These changes will benefit all fire departments and personnel,” said Anthony Moore, president, First Nations Emergency Services Society.

“Particularly it will benefit volunteer fire departments and those with minimal resources, including the many strong female First Nations firefighters who serve their communities.”

This amendment of the Firefighters’ Occupational Disease Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) comes as a response after the province recognized that firefighters have a higher risk of work-related cancer.

It is presumed that any of the listed cancers arose from employment of a firefighter if it was developed after a certain period of employment. Workers compensation benefits then becomes available to the employee, without any requirement of proof the cancer was developed from work.

“It goes without saying that firefighters face a lot of hazards in their work,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.

These changes are another step of the Province to eliminate barriers to workers accessing compensation benefits and resources.

“When it comes to the workers’ compensation system, they shouldn’t have to prove that certain long-term illnesses are work-related in order to access supports. B.C.’s firefighters have been asking for this protection, and I am proud to support these people who do so much to keep British Columbians safe.”

The list has now increased to 16 types of cancers with the first ones being recognized by the Province in 2005.

In addition to the amendment, firefighters will now also have a shorter waiting period to become eligible for the already covered testicular, colorectal and esophageal cancers.

All professional and 10,000 volunteer firefighters can access workers compensation to both cancers and other occupational diseases. To access the benefits they must complete the minimum amount of hours required.