Frequently asked questions: Firefighter presumptive care

Why is presumptive cancer coverage being expanded?

The Ontario government announced an expansion of presumptive cancer coverage for eligible firefighters and fire investigators to include pancreatic and thyroid cancers.

Firefighters die of cancer at a rate up to four times higher than the general population. On average, 50 to 60 firefighters die of cancer yearly in Canada, and half of those are from Ontario. The expansion of our presumptive coverage will allow us to help firefighters and their families to access support and services faster and more easily.

When does this expansion take effect?

These changes took effect on June 29, 2023.

Who is eligible for this expanded coverage?

The expanded presumptive coverage is for firefighters and fire investigators employed in those jobs for 10 or more years who have been diagnosed with pancreatic and thyroid cancers. The coverage is retroactive to January 1, 1960. You can read more about presumptive cancer coverage, including existing coverage for certain other cancers. 

Could claims that were previously not allowed now be eligible for benefits?

Yes, in some cases a claim that was previously not allowed may now be eligible to receive benefits under the expanded presumptive coverage. We are proactively reviewing previous claims to identify any that we may need to reconsider.

What types of cancer are covered in this expansion?

This expanded presumptive coverage applies to pancreatic and thyroid cancers for eligible firefighters and fire investigators. For other cancers that may be covered by existing presumptive coverages, see our Cancers in Firefighters and Fire Investigators Policy

Information for employers of firefighters and fire investigators

When will I know the cost of the claim(s) affected by this?

Costs vary based on the facts of each specific case. We will make every effort to provide a preliminary estimation of the claim cost as soon as we are able. You will know the exact cost of any impacted claims when a decision on the claim has been made. 

What payment options are available to me?

Please email or call us at 1-800-387-0750, Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you need support with your WSIB account.