By John B. Battaglio, Dundas
Re: 'Justice for Bob Shaw; Law recognizes claims that
cancer and other illnesses are related to work of fighting fires' (May 4)
This article states the new legislation means eight
job-related cancers contracted by full-time firefighters will be presumed to be
job-related. I find this deeply concerning since medical statistics have long
revealed there are approximately 190 known cancers.
This legislation comes after 10 long years of emotionally
excruciating delays faced by the family survivors. Suddenly, as election time
approaches, all three parties, in a rare event, approve benefits for our many
firefighters and their families. I view these denials and delays of the past by
the compensation board as a shameful act, which has been imposed upon all
firefighters who risk and give their lives in service to our community.
The truth is that, for decades, the criteria for the
Compensation Act orders that any significant part of a workplace impairment,
either the physical or psychological loss or abnormality, is covered unless
evidence to the contrary is shown.
There is overwhelming case law to support the
firefighters' rights to full benefits. At the same time, benefits under the
Compensation Act, as in place for decades, have been wrongly denied the living
firefighters, as well as those who have died as a result of the exposure to
noxious toxic fumes, a direct consequence of carrying out their dangerous
responsibilities and commitment to our communities.
The mistreatment of firefighters and their families
through these inexcusable delays is a result of the compensation
administration's total disregard for the basic premise that a worker is
entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
The major barriers are the direct result of the bias of
the workers' compensation policy administrators who are in violation of the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms with regard to discriminatory misinformation
imposed upon persons with disabilities and their families.