March 5, 2019
As of March 1, 2019, the WSIB’s new policy will apply to all requests for entitlement to medical marijuana. Prior to this, the WSIB was adjudicating on a case-by-case basis. This new policy simply means that the WSIB has formalized its adjudication of this ‘new’ drug, and that the policy will apply to all appeals heard by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (“WSIAT”).
WSIB Policy No. 17-01-10, “Cannabis for Medical Purposes” identifies a list of requirements to assess eligibility for medical cannabis. Coverage for medical cannabis through the WSIB is currently restricted to five (5) specific, clinically established conditions listed below.
To be considered for eligibility, a worker must pass a threshold test; disqualification factors include being under the age of 25 and have a current or past substance use disorder.
If the worker is not disqualified, the WSIB uses the following criteria to assess eligibility for coverage:
The WSIB will cover reasonable costs of medical cannabis if the eligible worker obtains it from a licensed holder. The WSIB will not reimburse a worker for cannabis grown personally or purchased from a recreational cannabis retailer.
If entitlement is allowed under a WSIB claim, the safety and suitability of RTW placement/offers will include the potential impairment effect of the cannabis treatment. This would be the same as for any prescribed medication (e.g. opioids). As always, it is important that a worker’s medical practitioner is aware of the job demands associated with the worker’s pre-injury job or modified work so that the safety of the worker and workplace is maintained regardless of whether the WSIB grants entitlement for the ‘drug’ or not.
For additional information and resources on this topic see the medical cannabis page and explanatory note on the WSIB website found here.