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Former miner calls on New Brunswick to change workers’ compensation

Click to play video 'Ex-miner calling on province for worker’s compensation changes' Ex-miner calling on province for worker’s compensation changes
WATCH: A man who spent nearly two decades working in New Brunswick mines says he developed illnesses but has been denied coverage by WorkSafeNB and he’s now calling on the government to make changes – May 5, 2017

A former miner, who spent over 30 years working in the industry, says New Brunswick should make changes to worker’s compensation and ensure victims of workplace illnesses like him are covered.

Roger LeBlanc walked the legislative grounds on Tuesday wearing a sandwich board stating his case.

LeBlanc worked in mines for 34 years, the latter half in New Brunswick, and says he was denied compensation for illnesses he was diagnosed with as a result of his line of work.

“I had to borrow money to pay for my expenses and that’s not right,” he explained. “The government knows, I got the proof, everything, but they’re protecting WorkSafe.”

“They said they couldn’t do nothing for me,” said LeBlanc

READ MORE: New Brunswick government establishing workers’ compensation task force

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New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon calls the situation “an injustice” and thinks worker’s compensation regulations need massive reform to ensure LeBlanc and others like him are supported.

“It’s a completely unjust situation,” said Coon. “We do it for firefighters, firefighters who get cancer or particular cancers that are associated with their exposure to toxic substances in burning buildings are compensated.”

READ MORE: Funeral held for Fredericton firefighter who lost battle with occupational cancer

LeBlanc is now 74 and has been battling issues such as industrial disease, silicosis and heavy metal poisoning since being diagnosed in the early 1990’s.

He says despite his age, declining health and the loss of colleagues who had similar issues, he has no plans of stopping his fight.

“We buried three guys, three miners last week,” LeBlanc explained. “I hope the government do their job. If they don’t do their job today I’ll have to go see Mr. Trudeau, walk in front of Parliament in Ottawa.”

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