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Cranbrook fire fighters and WorkSafe BC

(From left) Gregory Green, Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services (CF & ES); Clay Murrell, CF & ES; Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett; Paul Relkoff (second from right), CF & ES supporting the proposed legislation. - Photo submitted
(From left) Gregory Green, Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services (CF & ES); Clay Murrell, CF & ES; Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett; Paul Relkoff (second from right), CF & ES supporting the proposed legislation.
— image credit: Photo submitted

 

The Government of British Columbia today will table legislation under the Workers Compensation Act to restore heart disease in firefighters as a presumptive disease recognized by WorkSafeBC.

This proposed amendment to the Workers Compensation Act fulfils Government’s election commitment to restore heart disease in firefighters - including forest firefighters - to the list of presumptive diseases recognized by WorkSafeBC.

Under the proposed amendment, if a firefighter suffers from heart disease or a heart injury - including a heart attack - it will be presumed to be due to their work as a firefighter unless the contrary is proved.

Some of the other key features of the legislation are as follows:

• The proposed amendments will provide presumptions for heart disease and for heart injury including heart attacks.

• The presumptions will apply if the claimant was employed as a firefighter at or immediately before the date of disablement from heart injury or disease.

• This legislation will thus support B.C. firefighters in receiving workers’ compensation should they suffer from heart disease or heart injury as a result of their work.

• The presumption will be available to local government firefighters as well as forest firefighters.

• Finally, the presumption will apply to eligible firefighters who first become disabled from heart disease or heart injury on or after the day the legislation comes into force on Royal Assent.

B.C. continues to be a leader in recognizing occupational diseases associated with long-term employment as a firefighter and the proposed legislation if passed would make the province the only jurisdiction in Canada to have a presumption for heart disease embedded in its workers’ compensation legislation.

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