Last week, injured elevator technician Gordon Skinner won the right to have his medical marijuana prescription covered by his employer-sponsored plan.
It’s not the first time a plan member has done so. In 2015, Jonathan Zaid fought for and won coverage for medical cannabis through his student plan at the University of Waterloo. In Skinner’s case, his successful bid for coverage followed a discrimination claim with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
The ruling in Skinner’s case focused, in part, on the wording of his benefits handbook, which stated it would cover “medically necessary drugs and medicines.” Its main exclusions were for non-prescription drugs and those that aren’t medically necessary. Even though medical marijuana doesn’t have a drug identification number, doctors do prescribe it and the commission determined it could be considered a medicine, if not a drug.
The ruling comes at a time of significant change around marijuana, as the federal government prepares to legalize it for recreational use and benefits plans face claims to cover it. Does the latest ruling herald a likely trend for coverage by other benefits plans or is it specific to the matter in question. Don’t forget to have your say by voting in this week’s online poll.
Last week’s poll dealt with proposals to reform the Quebec Pension Plan and concerns that some of them don’t go far enough in improving retirement outcomes for middle-income earners. The results showed 62 per cent of respondents feel the QPP changes should mirror enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan. The remaining 38 per cent of participants said Quebec’s situation is different and the proposals balance affordability with enhanced benefits.