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Ontario expands firefighter cancer presumption for comp

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Ontario is extending the presumption for firefighters for entitlement to workers comp benefits to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers.

With the expanded presumption, firefighters diagnosed with these three types of cancers will encounter an expedited process for benefits and will not be required to prove a causal link between these cancers and a workplace exposure, according to an Ontario Ministry of Labor statement issued Thursday. Claims related to these three cancers will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 1960.

In 2007, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act was amended to create a statutory presumption for firefighters and fire investigators to get compensation for heart injuries and certain cancers without having to prove they are work-related. In 2014, the Ontario government amended the firefighter regulation under the statute to add six cancers to the presumption list: multiple myeloma, testicular, breast, prostate, lung and skin cancer, according to the statement.

There are about 450 fire departments in Ontario made up of about 11,000 full-time firefighters, 19,000 volunteer firefighters and 200 part-time firefighters, according to the statement.

A ministry spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment on the number of expected claims and additional costs related to the presumption change.