February 25, 2019

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Policy on Cannabis for Medical Purposes Comes into Effect on March 1, 2019

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has issued a policy on Cannabis for Medical Purposes. The policy, which will be in effect starting March 1, 2019, provides guidance regarding the WSIB’s approval of entitlement to medical cannabis for workplace-related injuries and illnesses.

The WSIB may allow entitlement to medical cannabis for a work-related injury/disease if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The worker has one of the following designated conditions:
  • neuropathic pain,
  • spasticity resulting from a spinal cord injury,
  • nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy,
  • loss of appetite associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or
  • pain and other symptoms experienced in a palliative setting.

2. The worker’s treating health professional authorizes medical cannabis to treat the designated condition.

3. The worker has exhausted conventional treatments for the designated condition.

4. An appropriate clinical assessment of the worker has been conducted

5. The benefits of medical cannabis for the worker outweigh the risks.

6. The dose and route of administration authorized for the worker are appropriate.

7. The worker has a valid medical document or a written order for medical cannabis.

If entitlement to medical cannabis is allowed:

  • The WSIB will pay for the reasonable costs of medical cannabis and, where appropriate, a vapourizer. The medical cannabis must be obtained from a license holder with whom the worker is registered as a client or from a hospital, and itemized invoices or accounts from must be submitted to the WSIB.
  • The WSIB will closely monitor and regularly review entitlement to ensure medical cannabis treatment remains necessary, appropriate, and sufficient for the work-related condition.

For more information regarding the WSIB’s Cannabis for Medical Purposes, you may review the Operational Policy Manual document, 17-01-10, Cannabis for Medical Purposes.

Implications

Employers should be aware that medical cannabis may be a WSIB treatment option for certain designated conditions, and that group insurers may commence providing coverage for medical cannabis. It is recommended that employers consider employees’ accommodation requests relating to medical cannabis on a case-by-case basis and seek legal advice if necessary.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice, which in all circumstances must be tailored to the specific facts of any problem. You should obtain a proper legal consultation in order to determine how this article applies to your specific situation.
Please feel free to contact Israel Foulon LLP to learn more at 416-640-1550.

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