Ac­cess to medic­i­nal cannabis shouldn’t be painful to talk about

The Globe and Mail Metro (Ontario Edition) - - CANNABIS REPORT -

On Oc­to­ber 17th, Canada will be the first, and so far only ma­jor world econ­omy to le­gal­ize cannabis. This is a sig­nif­i­cant event with im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions for em­ploy­ers as they will need to re­visit their work­place po­lices in or­der to bal­ance their le­gal duty to ac­com­mo­date med­i­cal cannabis pa­tients, with the need to pro­vide a safe work­place.

As pa­tients con­tinue to learn more about med­i­cal cannabis and ac­cep­tance grows, de­mand for in­creased cov­er­age soon fol­lows. A re­cent 2018 Sanofi Canada Health­care Sur­vey found that 64 per cent of em­ploy­ees with work­place health plans agreed that med­i­cal cannabis, when au­tho­rized by a physi­cian, should be cov­ered by their health ben­e­fit plan. 1

Opi­oid use and overdose rates have sky­rock­eted, with a re­ported 13 per cent of the Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion re­ly­ing on these po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing drugs for pain re­lief. 2 In 2017, nearly 4,000 Cana­di­ans died from opi­oid over­doses, a 34 per cent in­crease from 2016 de­spite there be­ing a 10 per cent de­crease in the amount of opi­oids pre­scribed that year. 3,4

Med­i­cal cannabis, which has been le­gal in Canada since 2001, has the po­ten­tial to re­v­erse these tragic sta­tis­tics.

Cana­dian lead­ers are be­gin­ning to em­brace med­i­cal cannabis and what it may pro­vide. “We are proud to be work­ing to find a bet­ter, safer way to help work­ers treat con­di­tions,” said Joseph S. Mancinelli, in­ter­na­tional vice pres­i­dent & re­gional man­ager of Cen­tral & Eastern Canada for the In­ter­na­tional Union of North Amer­ica (LiUNA) – the largest con­struc­tion union in Canada with 120,000 ac­tive mem­bers.

De­spite the sig­nif­i­cant de­sire for ex­panded cov­er­age to in­clude med­i­cal cannabis in health plans, only a few em­ploy­ers (about 4 per cent) cur­rently of­fer cov­er­age for med­i­cal cannabis, ac­cord­ing to the Hu­man Re­sources Pro­fes­sional As­so­ci­a­tion (HRPA). 5 n

We are proud to be work­ing to find a bet­ter, safer way to help work­ers treat con­di­tions.” Joseph S. Mancinelli is in­ter­na­tional vice pres­i­dent & re­gional man­ager of Cen­tral & Eastern Canada for LiUNA

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