Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Ontario is named a world-renowned expert to lead a review on occupational cancers to develop best practices when assessing compensation claims.
Dr. Paul Demers, a senior scientist of prevention, screening and cancer control with Cancer Care Ontario, has been tasked to conduct the review and report back to the Ministry of Labour by the end of the year. Dr. Demers is also director of the occupational Cancer Research Centre in Ontario and professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
“I am very happy to lead this review,” Dr. Demers says. “There is a growing awareness that workplace chemicals and radiation are an important cause of cancer. While recognition of individual cases can be challenging, it is important that we move forward using the best and most up-to-date scientific evidence.”
According to a statement from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour issued on January 25, 2019 review will show how scientific evidence can be used to determine whether a cancer is work-related, recommend best practices in other jurisdictions that Ontario should consider adopting and offer criteria that the Ministry of labour should consider when developing legislative policy. The review and recommendations will also guide the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) as it reviews occupational-disease claims.
The government has also launched an Occupational Disease and Illness Prevention Strategy. The ministry is working with the WSIB and its health and safety Association partners to develop a strategy that will further understanding of the occupational disease and hazardous substances, strengthen workplace protections, build awareness about occupational-illness prevention and establish partnerships to help improve the management of occupational illness in the province.
“Occupational disease and illness is a very complex issue. The review will give us a clearer picture of how workplace exposures can lead to occupational cancer and help inform our new prevention strategy to further protect Ontario workers,” says Ron Kelusky, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer.
More Ontario workers die from occupational diseases and workplace incidents. In 2000 1747 workers died from work-related illness while 81 died from traumatic injuries.
I’m very glad to see that the Ontario government needs to use different criteria when deciding if an illness of a worker is a part of the work environment or not. It is hard to prove but it seems to be that the government is trying very hard to better recognize chemical hazards in the workplace, radiation hazards in the workplace, as potential cancer-causing agents.
The time is now for the Ontario government to step up to the plate and I believe that they have done so. Hiring Dr. Demers is, certainly, a step in the right direction.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.