Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2293 14
S. Martel - M. Christie - C. Salama
  • Cancer (colon)
  • Firefighter (volunteer)
  • Presumptions (firefighter)

The worker was a volunteer firefighter and a self-employed contractor. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2005 and died in October 2006. The worker's estate appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the colon cancer.

There was no supporting evidence that any of the possible exposures from self-employment, such as diesel fumes, oils and lubricants, are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.
O. Reg. 253/07, provides a rebuttable presumption that certain cancers are the result of workplace exposure related to firefighting if certain conditions exist. That regulation now also applies to volunteer firefighters. With respect to colon cancer, the regulation provides a rebuttable presumption of work-relatedness if the worker was diagnosed with the disease before attaining the age of 61 and if the worker was employed as a firefighter for a total of at least 10 years before diagnosis.
In this case, the worker was diagnosed at age 42. However, he only started working as a volunteer fighter in September 1995. Thus, he had nine years and six months of service as a volunteer firefighter before diagnosis, which as six months short of the minimum 10 years in the regulation. Accordingly, the rebuttable presumptions did not apply in this case. There were no risk factors specific to the worker to suggest that his colon cancer was the result of excess risk.
The appeal was dismissed.