Last night at the Legislature, the MGEU presented on Bill 25, which aims to expand the presumptive Workers Compensation Board (WCB) coverage to include forest firefighters who work in Manitoba’s Wildfire Service. The Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs hearing cases for the Bill showed unanimous support for it becoming law.

“In our presentation in support of this legislation, we recapped the hazardous conditions that our members fighting wild fires face in the line of duty, including smoke inhalation and extreme heat,” said MGEU President Kyle Ross. “Forest firefighters are repeatedly exposed to toxins, harmful chemicals, and carcinogens that can have devastating impacts on their health. The least we can do is provide presumptive cancer coverage.”

For years, urban firefighters have had this presumptive coverage, but forest firefighters were not considered eligible. At the MGEU Convention in 2022, members resolved to right this historic wrong.

“Working together with the Manitoba Federation of Labour and the Minister of Labour and Immigration, we got this done,” Ross said. “This legislation is a significant achievement, ensuring support for those who work tirelessly to protect our forests, property and communities.”

MGEU members who work in the Wildfire Service include Fire Rangers, Helitac Officers, Area Fire Managers, Air Attack Officers, Fire Operations Managers, and Conservation Officers.