Quebec's unionized firefighters and managers call the adoption by the House of Commons, on March 8, 2023, of Bill C-224, An Act respecting the development of a national framework for the prevention and treatment of fire-related cancers, a step forward
MONTREAL, March 23, 2023 /CNW/ - The Regroupement des associations de pompiers du Québec (RAPQ), the Syndicat des Pompiers du Québec (FTQ) and the Association des gestionnaires en sécurité incendie et civile du Québec (AGSICQ), representing more than 1,000 managers from 632 fire departments in Quebec today called the unanimous adoption by Canadian parliamentarians of Bill C-224, championed for more than a year by Sherry Romanado, Liberal MP for Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne, a major step forward. The bill would formally establish a national framework to increase awareness of fire-related cancers and improve access to cancer prevention and treatment for firefighters.
"This legislation is a major victory for firefighters from all walks of life, as it formalizes the development of a national framework to increase awareness of firefighting-related cancers and promote better access to cancer prevention and, more importantly, treatment for firefighters," said Common Front spokesman Chris Ross today, Chris Ross said today that the initiative championed by the Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was a step forward in the recognition of occupational diseases, as this legislation will establish national standards for the recognition of cancers as occupational diseases, once it receives Royal Assent in the Senate next summer.
Mr. Ross also cited the example that this national framework will also allow firefighters across Canada to undergo periodic cancer screening, while promoting research and improved data collection on the prevention and treatment of fire-related cancers. He noted that research shows that 85% of firefighter deaths in Canada may be caused by occupational cancers, which makes the situation all the more urgent when it is clearly demonstrated that firefighters play a vital role in our safety at the risk of their own lives.
Although we recognize the progress made in this area by the Legault government over the past few years, the Common Front believes that there is still a long way to go in Quebec: a statement made in the past few days by the expansion of the number of recognized cancers to 21 in Ontario with the addition of thyroid and pancreatic cancers to the 19 cancers already recognized in Ontario.
"The work of firefighters brings them to face more than ever the risks of contracting all kinds of cancers, given the increasingly widespread presence of harmful chemical and synthetic elements in building materials," continued AGSICQ co-presidents Jean Bartolo and Jean Melançon, citing benzenes, dioxins, furans, chlorinated byproducts, cyanide byproducts, flame retardants and others as invisible killers.
"It is high time that, given the reality and the available data, which are among the most complete of all professions for the risk of cancer, that the system follows the principle of restorative justice," said Stéphane Chartrand, President of the Quebec Firefighters Union.
Finally, Mr. Ross concluded by saying that in a country with effective social safety nets and health care, such as ours, the fundamental issue is one of equity, not mere survival.
Source: Chris Ross, President and spokesperson of the Common Front
SOURCE Regroupement des Associations de Pompiers du Québec (RAPQ)
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