Local firefighters are applauding expanded Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) coverage made by the Saskatchewan government. The government announced an amendment to The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 to include six new cancers for occupational disease presumption.

This allows Saskatchewan firefighters to file WCB claims for cancers like prostate, skin, breast, cervical and ovarian cancer, as well as multiple myeloma. Fire Chief Jordan Newton says the inclusion of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer is a positive sign for female firefighters.

“It’s really positive to see as we encourage more women to join the fire service,” says Newton. “For current ones that are serving and future generations, we see that expansion as reflective of the fire service.”

Newton adds that most people don’t think of the firefighting risks outside of the smoke, flames and burning buildings.

“It is a dangerous job, but what you don’t see is the hidden things behind the fires. Things like the carcinogens that we do breathe in and absorb through our skin. That’s things that build up over time, and so it’s so great to see that coverage come out.”.

Newton says he’s pleased with the legislation and feels comfortable knowing his firefighters are covered.

“Heaven forbid any of them are diagnosed with cancer related to their position as a firefighter,” adds Newton.

The Saskatchewan government says the amendment reflects changing demographics among firefighters, with half the new cancers added mainly or only impacting women.