ODRA welcomes the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, Seeks action from the Ontario Minister of Labour to change WSIB laws

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, Feb. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Occupational Disease Reform Alliance (ODRA) is pleased to welcome the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association IAFF Local 162 as its newest member.

Firefighters face a staggering magnitude and variety of toxic exposures on the job including carcinogens, particulates, chemicals, dusts, fumes, combustibles, and numerous other hazards such as heat stress. Yet when these brave professionals we regard as heroes develop cancers, lung diseases, or other occupational illnesses because of those exposures, far too many of them face denied workers’ compensation claims at the hands of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

“All too frequently these claims are denied by WSIB despite evidence of the multiple toxic exposures these firefighters faced while doing their jobs” expressed IAFF Local 162 President Doug McLennan in a letter of support for ODRA. “We must see WSIB expand the list of presumptions and ensure they are more broadly applicable to all workers”.

ODRA Chair Sue James stated “It is an experience sadly shared by the workers, widows, and family members of the ODRA occupational disease clusters, and we are proud to fight alongside the Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association for meaningful reform of the WSIB system”.

Justice for victims of Occupational Disease

On January 18, 2022, ODRA members met with Ontario Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton. We presented Minister McNaughton with the lived experiences of our workers and widows that speak to our 4 demands. We provided the Minister with proposals for legislative amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act that are necessary to give effect to these demands.

(See “Justice for victims of Occupational Disease: An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act”, here).

We eagerly await prompt action on the part of Minister McNaughton and the Government of Ontario to enact these needed legislative changes into law. We cannot continue to wait while workers and their families die waiting.

For more information, contact: Sue James, ODRA Chair suejames@cogeco.ca

To learn more about ODRA: https://ofl.ca/advocacy-groups-odra/