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Ontario to increase health coverage for wildland firefighters

Ontario says it will give the same cancer, heart and post-traumatic stress disorder coverage coverage as municipal firefighters.Ontario Labour Minister David Piccini attends Question Period at the Ontario legislature in Toronto, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

BRANTFORD, Ont. — Ontario says it will give wildland firefighters the same cancer, heart and post-traumatic stress disorder coverage as municipal firefighters.

Labour Minister David Piccini says the province will also expand presumptive coverage to firefighters for skin cancer. 

That means certain cancers, heart injuries and PTSD diagnoses are considered to be work-related, which helps ease access to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board benefits.

Ontario's wildland firefighters have long been fighting for the same health coverage that their municipal counterparts enjoy.

The province also plans to reduce the required service time to receive skin cancer coverage on the job to 10 years from 15 years.

Ontario saw a record-setting wildfire season last year, with 741 fires that burned 440,000 hectares of forest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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