News release

Heart Attacks, More Cancers Added to Firefighters’ Insurance Coverage

Workplace injury insurance for firefighters and their families will soon cover more types of cancer and heart attacks.

The Province is acting on its commitment to increase presumptive coverage to 19 cancers from six and to include heart attacks that occur within 24 hours of an emergency call.

“Firefighters put their health at risk and their lives on the line every day,” said Premier Tim Houston. “Those who protect us should, in turn, be protected by their government and have access to the workplace injury coverage they need when they need it.”

The additional coverage will be in amendments to the Firefighters Compensation Regulations under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The 13 types of cancer being added are: esophageal, lung, testicular, ureter, breast, multiple myeloma, prostate, skin, ovarian, cervical, penile, thyroid, and pancreatic. There is existing coverage for bladder, brain, colorectal and kidney cancer, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“About 6,600 firefighters and their families will benefit from these changes, making Nova Scotia one of the leading provinces in Canada for presumptive coverage for firefighters,” said Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “I’d like to thank our firefighters for helping to advance these changes, and for the sacrifices they and their families make every day to keep us safe.”

The amended regulations take effect July 1. Firefighters with a cancer diagnosis since July 1, 2021, will be able to access the expanded benefits.

The Province will cover the total liability cost of $80.6 million for four fiscal years. Municipalities will not incur additional liability costs until 2025-26.


These amendments are an important step to provide firefighters and their families with increased access to coverage as we committed to do as part of our ministerial mandate. I am proud that this government has been able to introduce these changes within our first year in government as a sign of our commitment to fix healthcare in Nova Scotia. Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness

These protections are the most significant improvements in firefighter presumptive cancer coverage in Canadian history, bringing Nova Scotia’s firefighters from the least protected in Canada to the most protected. On behalf of firefighters and our families, I thank the government for keeping their word to Nova Scotia’s firefighters. This is a great day! Capt. Brendan Meagher, President, Halifax Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 268

Quick Facts:

  • more than 6,000 volunteer firefighters and 600 paid firefighters work in Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia joins Manitoba and the Yukon as leaders in the country for presumptive cancer coverage for firefighters
  • the Province will cover $67.4 million in initial liability costs for municipalities in 2021-22, and $4.4 million in annual liability costs for 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25
  • Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration staff reviewed multiple studies and consulted firefighters, organizations representing firefighters, and municipal representatives throughout the province on revising the regulations

Additional Resources:

News release – Amendments Support Volunteer Firefighters:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Health and Wellness: