Presumptive Legislation refers to certain illnesses that are presumed to be caused by exposures in the workplace. Because an illness is presumed to be caused by exposures in the workplace, the burden to prove causation to the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) is minimized.
Presumptive Legisation was passed in Ontario in May, 2007. Bill 221 outlined occupational diseases presumed to have been contracted by professional, part-time, volunteer firefighters. The legislation went on to cover 8 cancers and heart disease.
Since then, the legislation has been expanded to include variations of the following cancers: brain, bladder, kidney, colorectal, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), leukemia, ureter, esophageal, breast, multiple myeloma, testicular, prostate, lung, and skin.
Due to evidence showing that first responders are at least twice as likely compared to the general population to suffer from PTSD, it has also been included in presumptive legislation that applies to firefighters and their brothers and sisters in police and EMS.
This presumptive legislation has brought occupational disease discussion to the forefront. With this recognition comes the realization of the costs (financial and personal) directly associated with chronic exposures. This has driven progress in prevention of these recognized illnesses.
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