Province Appoints Dr. Paul Demers and Cancer Care Ontario to Conduct Review
Ontario is launching a review of how work-related cancers are evaluated to ensure the compensation system takes into account best practices and the most up-to-date medical science, including the effects of being exposed to multiple substances in a workplace.
The government will appoint Dr. Paul Demers and the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Cancer Care Ontario to conduct the review. Dr. Demers is an internationally recognized expert on the health effects of workplace exposures and a member of many expert panels on this subject. The review will help to inform how the government addresses occupational cancer compensation in the future.
Determining work relatedness in the case of diseases like cancer is difficult. The tools need to be in place not only to ensure workers are safe, but also to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve should they develop a work-related disease. The Ministry of Labour is constantly examining ways of ensuring the system works properly for workers and their families, and this review is part of that process.
Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and over 65, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Dr. Paul Demers is Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre’s Steering Committee in Toronto and a Professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
- Occupational diseases are caused by exposure to physical, chemical or biological agents in the workplace.
- Between 2007 and 2016, the WSIB allowed about 125,000 occupational disease claims which accounted for over $950 million in benefit costs.
- WSIB benefits are administered under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
“We want to ensure the most current factors are considered when evaluating whether a cancer is work-related. Our government is committed to ensuring all injured workers continue to be treated with dignity and in a timely manner by the compensation system. Workers need to be protected if they become ill as a result of exposure to harmful substances at workplaces. I look forward to reading the report.”
“Occupational diseases, especially cancers, can be difficult to link to workplace exposures. It’s not unusual for a worker to file a WSIB claim many years after a job has ended due to the complexities of these diseases. This review will inform policy makers on the best way to deal with claims.”