Guy Bourgouin MPP for Mushkegowuk—James Bay

Government of Ontario

NDP, Forest Firefighters Celebrate Long-Awaited WSIB Coverage

Published on April 29, 2024

QUEEN'S PARK - Official Opposition NDP Natural Resources and Forestry critic Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk—James Bay) and critic for WSIB and Injured Workers Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay-Superior North) released the following statement after it was announced that forest firefighters would finally receive WSIB coverage, a long-awaited victory that they, along with the Ontario NDP, have been advocating for years. 

"After years of being denied the protection they deserve, forest firefighters have finally received what they have been asking for," said Bourgouin. "WSIB coverage is a crucial step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of our forest firefighters, who risk their lives to protect our communities day in and day out." 

"Finally, forest firefighters have the protection they deserve with WSIB coverage," added Vaugeois. "This is a significant milestone and a testament to the tireless advocacy of forest firefighters. We must continue to evaluate and improve our approach to forest firefighting and ensure that protective equipment is developed specifically for forest fires. Reducing exposure to carcinogens needs to be a top research priority so that these workers never need to draw on this coverage." 

 “Last year, fire crews were stretched thin, and the province burned, all while the Conservatives stood idly by, neglecting their duty to protect our communities,” concluded Bourgouin.“Now, more than ever, we must invest in recruiting, retaining, and attracting skilled forest firefighters with full-time, permanent positions. They deserve stability and security. It’s the least we can do for those that protect what makes Ontario so great.” 

Additional Quotes: 

“New Democrats have been working with Ontario’s wildland firefighters for a very long time. We assured these Workers that we’d always work with them toward receiving fair wages and better WSIB protections. We are very pleased to hear this news about WSIB coverage and look forward to hearing an upcoming announcement regarding wages.” 

  • MPP Jamie West (Sudbury)             
     NDP Labour critic