PEI

P.E.I. alone in not recognizing firefighters' occupational cancer, says MLA

P.E.I. is the only province that does not consider cancer in firefighters an occupational disease, says Liberal MLA Allen Roach, and that needs to change.

'We will look at expanding legislation,' says minister

'The disease is presumed to be an occupational disease,' says Liberal MLA Allen Roach. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

P.E.I. is the only province that does not consider cancer in firefighters an occupational disease, says Liberal MLA Allen Roach, and that needs to change.

Roach raised the subject during question period in the legislature on Wednesday.

"In other provinces, if a firefighter or a fire investigator is diagnosed with prescribed cancer and meets certain employment durations and additional criteria for the prescribed cancer, then the disease is presumed to be an occupational disease due to the nature of the worker's employment, unless the contrary is shown," he said.

'I'd like to commit that we will look at expanding legislation on this,' says Workforce Minister Sonny Gallant. (Province of P.E.I.)

Workforce Minister Sonny Gallant noted firefighters are covered under workers compensation for injury or illness, like all workers, and he is aware of the cancer coverage in other provinces, he said.

The province should look into making improvements to the process, Gallant said, and he pledged to contact the P.E.I. Firefighters Association.

"We do think this is very important," said Gallant.

"I'd like to commit that we will look at expanding legislation on this."

Gallant said the government will collaborate with the Workers Compensation Board to put the item at the top of their legislative amendments for the fall.

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With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan

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