Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2374 07
M. Keil
  • Firefighter
  • Lymphoma (Hodgkin's)

The worker was a firefighter for eight and one-half years, starting in 1992. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2000. The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer granting the worker entitlement.

Epidemiological evidence did not identify an increased risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma in firefighters. The Vice-Chair noted that there have been a number of epidemiological studies that have resulted in changes to various provincial workers' compensation statutes. In Ontario, those changes are reflected in O. Reg. 253/07. Based on those studies, cancers have been listed in O. Reg. 253/07 on the basis of epidemiological evidence supporting an increased risk across the majority of the studies. The studies did not identify such a risk for Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Hodgkin's lymphoma is not listed in O. Reg. 253/07. The fact that it is not listed does not signify that entitlement will never be in order but it does signal that, to date, there is not supportive evidence of an increased risk for firefighters in developing Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The Vice-Chair noted that, in the case of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which studies do suggest a causal connection, 20 or more years of firefighting experience is required. In this case of Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which an increased risk has not been identified, the worker had less than 10 years of firefighting experience. In addition, there were no individual circumstances to suggest that the worker's exposure was under-reported or that there were exceptional circumstances.
The worker did not have entitlement for Hodgkin's lymphoma. The appeal was allowed.