Ontario says it’s working on program addressing forest firefighter smoke exposure fears, but union has doubts

By Aya Dufour
CBC News
February 19, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada East

A manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR) says work is underway to develop a formal program that addresses a health and safety committee’s concerns over forest firefighters’ exposure to smoke, but a union head remains doubtful. MNR manager Stephanie Maragna was responding to a recommendation by the committee, which asked the province to do more to inform, educate and protect forest firefighters against toxin exposure. …Noah Freedman is a VP of Local 703 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and a forest fire crew leader with the MNR. …”I’m by no means hopeful, because if they had something, wouldn’t they have given us something more than a few sentences?” he asked. …The manual the MNR gives to forest firefighters includes these safety practices to help reduce smoke exposure. …Freedman said it does not refer to medical literature that links firefighting with higher incidences of cancer.

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