A Newfoundland Supreme Court justice has upheld a decision that a mine worker be compensated for cancer he believes is linked to his job.
The Iron Ore Company of Canada had argued that the cancer that grew on Frank Hammond's kidney was not related to his work, despite a ruling from the Workplace, Health and Safety Commission in Hammond's favour.
Hammond, a Labrador City resident who had worked at IOC for 45 years, was worried when he entered a courtroom in St. John's on Monday.
However, Derek Green, the chief justice of the Newfoundland Supreme Court's trials division, ruled that IOC's arguments did not hold up.
"When he said I would get benefits from this court case, it made me 50 pounds lighter," Hammond said outside the courtroom.
George Kean, president of the United Steelworkers local, said the decision is precedent-setting and opens the door for other workers in the same position.
"I knew from the start [of] my 25 years researching industrial disease that Mr. Hammond's disease was caused by the workplace," said Kean.
"That's going to make it easier for other individuals in the future who come down with industrial disease."
Hammond's cancer is in remission. However, he said he spent much of his life's savings on travel for treatments. He said Monday's decision means that should his cancer return, he will not have to worry about paying for trips to St. John's for treatments.
He said his advice to others in the same position is to keep fighting.
Earlier this month, the United Steelworkers called on the Newfoundland and Labrador government to intervene in what the union calls attempts by IOC to tie up cancer-related workers' compensation cases in red tape.
IOC has the option of appealing Green's decision to the provincial appeals court.