Should prescribed medical marijuana be covered under workers’ compensation? This is the question courts across Canada are answering in different ways. The Quebec Superior Court ordered the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) in Quebec to pay for medical marijuana the same as it would for any other prescription drug. The WCB in Ontario was ordered to do the same on a case-by-case basis. Now the issue is moving toward Western Canada.
Carey Heliman of Saskatchewan was prescribed medical marijuana in 2002 to help him deal with pain and back spasms from back injuries he sustained in 1997 and 1981. After several surgeries and failed treatments, it was deemed that he was unable to return to work. He has been using four grams of medical marijuana everyday since receiving possession authorization from Health Canada in December 2002. Until now, his licensed provider has never charged him for the marijuana, but sensing that he will soon be forced to pay, Heilman made a claim to Saskatchewan WCB. WCB denied his claim, which amounts to approximately $1,200 every month.
The case went to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench where it was decided that an injured worker should have the merit of his case heard to determine if his medical marijuana should be covered by WCB. The Court stated that WCB should have considered the evidence and made an independent determination as to whether Board Policy applied to Heilman’s case.
While Heilman won a new hearing, it remains to be seen where courts in other provinces will stand on this issue. For now, the precedents appear to be in favour of patients prescribed medical marijuana with just cause. To learn more, continue reading the article here.
If you have questions about workers’ compensation, contact one of Vogel LLP’s Calgary lawyers today.
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