A Quebec commission has ruled that ten former Alcan employees developed cancer as a result of their work in smelters and, therefore, their families deserve to be compensated, according toCanadian HR Reporter.

The employees were hired between 1943 and 1970 to work in the aluminum company's smelters in Jonquiere and Alma, Que., about 250 kilometers north of Quebec City. The Quebec workplace accident commission found the workers were exposed to various carcinogens during their 20-year careers, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Doctors testified that exposure to the PAHs at work was most likely responsible for the workers' lung cancer.

A previous ruling from another safety commission ruled, because all ten workers were smokers, nicotine addiction had caused their cancer.

The ruling means the families of the former workers will be able to apply for compensation under Quebec's laws. While each case is different, each family could be entitled to more than $100,000, according to a Quebec workplace safety commission spokesperson.