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  • Province must go further to support wildland firefighters

GUELPH — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to news that the government will pass legislation to ensure wildland firefighters have the same presumptive WSIB coverage for cancers, heart injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder as municipal firefighters.

“This is an important change that wildland firefighters have long been asking for and I have supported. I’m glad that the government has finally chosen to listen.

But this government’s work to prepare our communities for another potential record-breaking forest fire season is far from over.

Just yesterday, Global News reported that one in five Ontario forest fire crews are currently unstaffed.

Once again, I am calling on the Minister of Natural Resources to develop a credible forest fire action plan that includes:

  • Increased funding for both emergency response and preparedness measures to boost access to PPE, training and equipment, and to hire and retain more wildland fire staff;
  • The creation of a dedicated climate adaptation fund to help municipalities make infrastructure climate-ready and reduce the risk of future environmental hazards;
  • A commitment to get Ontario off fossil gas and invest in cheaper, cleaner renewables and Indigenous-led climate solutions; and
  • Enhanced data collection regarding the public health impacts of forest fires.”
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