We are fortunate that in Canada, the recognition of medical cannabis as a viable and necessary path for many Canadians has created medical insurance programs that cover this form of treatment.
As we previously featured, many of Canada’s Medical Insurance Companies have made important moves to cover medical cannabis under insurance plans. In Canada, since medical cannabis has been legal since 2001, trade and labour unions have fought to have medical cannabis covered long before The Cannabis Act legalized cannabis for recreational purposes.
Most recent estimates show that anywhere from 4 to 5 million Canadians are part of a labour union. Unions are in place to protect the rights, health, safety, income, security, and well-being of employees across Canada. It is the responsibility of the union to work with management to ensure fair work, fair pay, and fair representation of worker’s rights.
The push to have medical cannabis covered by union benefits really caught fire around 2015 within Ontario, which is a heavily unionized province due to the concentration of industry. By 2017, more unions were signing on to have their members’ medical cannabis covered by their health plans. By the time legalization hit, more unions, including the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) were signing up to ensure that their workers had access to medical cannabis.
As with medical insurance companies, the path to getting medical cannabis covered wasn’t a straight one. Since medical cannabis does not yet have a Drug Identification Number (DIN#), it is not registered as a pharmaceutical medication, therefore it hasn’t been traditionally recognized by health insurance plans.
Some unions, including Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) have introduced a reimbursement benefit for medical cannabis. These arrangements are usually made between a local union, a Licensed Producer, and a medical cannabis clinic, where support is given to union members to obtain a medical cannabis document, purchase cannabis, and receive reimbursement for up to $2000 for those expenses.
Information for Union Representatives
Union representatives who are approached by their union members about medical cannabis have a duty to look into the medical cannabis options. It should be recognized that some types of jobs, particularly those that are involved in operating heavy machinery may have restrictions against medical cannabis use and work. In these cases, the union representative may have to find alternative work arrangements for those who rely on medical cannabis for their treatment options.
Unions that don’t cover medical cannabis may be able to advocate for this type of coverage for their members. In these cases, it’s recommended that union reps reach out to other unions to understand the processes for advocating for medical cannabis coverage.
Information for Union Members
Depending on the work environment, union members may have the option to pursue coverage for their medical cannabis. In these cases, it’s best to contact one’s union representative to discuss their medical cannabis needs and the potential for coverage.
Union members also have the opportunity to advocate for medical cannabis coverage under their unions. This will require some effort, advocacy, and research to make a strong case for the coverage of medical cannabis.
Obtaining Medical Cannabis Through Karthia & JC Medicinal
JC Medicinal is pleased to offer medical cannabis options for union members who have medical cannabis coverage or reimbursement eligibility. We invite those who are interested in exploring medical cannabis to contact their family doctors to find out if medical cannabis is an option for them. Those without a family doctor are also invited to contact Karthia, our affiliated medical cannabis clinic to obtain consultation with a medical professional. Through this process, the medical professional will determine whether medical cannabis is a suitable option for you and will then provide you a medical cannabis document.
Once this medical cannabis document is obtained, union members are invited to access and purchase medical cannabis from JC Medicinal. We have a number of available strains that are specifically cultivated for medical purposes, and our cultivation team is planting new strains all the time as we expand our offerings. Currently, JC Medicinal has tinctures and extracts going through Health Canada’s approval process, which will be available to JC Medicinal’s patients soon.