Province Expands WCB Coverage for Firefighters

The province is offering more cancer coverage to all firefighters who served during the 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire.

As part of the Alberta Government’s Bill 9, the province is amending the Workers Compensation Act to expand coverage for certain types of cancers and make it easier for firefighters and their families to access benefits and the support they need.

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao credits Minister of Jobs Economy and Northern Development, Brian Jean, for developing the Legislation.

“I am very proud that our government is expanding the presumptive coverage for firefighters,” said Yao.

Yao worked as a first responder in Fort McMurray for several years before moving to politics.

“This hits home for me, as this coverage will support many of my good friends that I used to work with.”

Matt Osborne, president of the Alberta Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association said while firefighters appreciate the work that has been done so far to address this crucial issue, the bill in its current form does not retroactively cover firefighters who sadly, already have cancer after battling this catastrophic event.

The opposition is critical of the move. They say Bill 9 will not retroactively cover those who have already applied but been denied WCB benefits, including firefighters who are already battling cancer.

“What the UCP has finally brought forward fails to meet the needs of firefighters on a number of fronts,” said Alberta NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray.

“This bill fails to add in a broader range of cancers and respiratory illnesses that firefighters who fought in the Fort McMurray fire are seeing develop.”

Nevertheless, Matt Osborne says his organization is grateful to see the legislation move forward.

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