An independent human rights board of inquiry has ruled that Gordon (Wayne) Skinner’s medical marijuana expenses are to be covered by his employee insurance plan.
Mr. Skinner, of Head of Chezzetcook, Halifax Regional Municipality, argued that he faced discrimination in accessing insurance coverage based on his disability.
Benjamin Perryman, the board chair, issued his decision on Jan. 30.
Mr. Skinner suffers from chronic pain following a motor vehicle accident when he was an elevator mechanic with ThyssenKrupp Elevator Canada. He has been unable to work and medical marijuana had helped his condition over conventional treatment for pain relief.
The respondents in the case, the board of trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund, had denied Mr. Skinner’s coverage in May 2014.
The Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan provides health and related benefits for employees and former employees like Mr. Skinner, working in the unionized sector of the elevator industry.
Mr. Perryman concluded that the plan includes conditions and rules for the coverage of medical marijuana as an eligible expense. For example, since medical marijuana requires a prescription by law, it did not fall within the plan’s exclusions. Since medical marijuana was prescribed for pain management, it was accepted that it is a medical necessity and should be covered. Conventional prescription pain management drugs are normally eligible for coverage.
Mr. Skinner’s medical marijuana expenses must now be covered by the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan up to and including the full amount of his most recent prescription.
The reimbursement will only be required where medical marijuana was purchased from a producer licensed by Health Canada or a person legally authorized to produce for Mr. Skinner under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. The claim must also be supported by an official receipt.
To read the full decision, please visit: http://humanrights.novascotia.ca.