Nfld. & Labrador

Dwight Ball announces presumptive cancer care for firefighters

Dwight Ball says a Liberal government would introduce presumptive cancer care for career firefighters in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says presumptive cancer care for career firefighters is overdue. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball announced his party, if elected, would introduce presumptive cancer care for career firefighters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ball said the new legislation comes out of a 2013 recommendation and would see presumptive laws put in place for full-time firefighters who get particular forms of cancer.

"This is legislation that's in place in many jurisdictions across the country right now, so it's really time to do this for our firefighters," Ball said.

"Those career firefighters have been waiting for this recommendations for quite some time now, and it's the right thing to do."

That [PC] promise is not worth the paper it was written on.- Doug Caddigan

Ball said the Liberals would like to see the legislation put in place as soon as possible, adding it's been "long overdue" since being recommended first in 2006, and again in 2013.

The Progressive Conservatives made a similar announcement Monday, with Paul Davis announcing the Tories would include expanded coverage for front-line workers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and heart injury.

While the Liberal plan doesn't include those two coverage options, Ball said he would look into the matter if elected.

"I think that's something we're hoping to discuss, but right now the commitment that we're making today is around legislation about presumptive cancer for paid firefighters."

PC 'inaction' source of frustration

Meanwhile, Ball and the provincial Liberals got an official endorsement from the St. John's Firefighters Association IAFF Local 1075.

Doug Caddigan says he would rather support the Liberal plan for presumptive cancer care than a more extensive plan from the Tories. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Doug Caddigan, president of the local union, said there's been "inaction" from the Tories over the last 12 years and he's been getting "the run-around" on this issue.

"The minister kept changing on a regular basis and each and every time we managed to procure a meeting, we had to go through the whole explanation time and time again while the same bureaucrats sat on the other side of the table," he said.

"They knew the story, they knew the facts, they knew exactly what it was we were trying to explain. You can only take that level of frustration for so long."

As for the the PC announcement Monday, Caddigan said he doesn't hold much faith the Tories will keep their promise.

"Past action has proven itself that really that promise is not worth the paper it was written on, from my standpoint, because of the inaction over the last 12 years."

Caddigan said while the Tories promised more extensive coverage for firefighters in the province, he'd be willing to endorse the Liberal plan and work with that party on adding legislation for PTSD and heart injury.

Ball made the announcement at a St. John's fire department Tuesday morning.

N.L. Votes live blog

​Get continuous updates from the campaign trail through our live blog.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.