Here’s their report….
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has overturned a provincial human rights board decision that said an injured man’s legally prescribed medical marijuana must be covered by his union insurance plan, marking a significant setback for cannabis advocates.
Gordon Wayne Skinner of Head of Chezzetcook, N.S., a unionized elevator mechanic who suffers from chronic pain caused by an on-the-job vehicle accident, had argued he faced discrimination when he was denied coverage under the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Plan.
Representatives for the plan argued there was simply no coverage for prescription drugs not approved by Health Canada, which is the case for medical marijuana. They said discrimination, as defined under the Human Rights Act, had little to do with this case.
In February 2017, a human rights board of inquiry agreed with Skinner, saying he faced unintentional discrimination because the exclusion of coverage was inconsistent with the purpose of the insurance plan.
“It had the adverse effect of depriving him of the medically necessary drug prescribed by his physician, even though the … plan covered other special requests for medically necessary drugs prescribed by physicians for other beneficiaries,” the board said in its decision.
Court rejects discrimination argument
Nova Scotia’s highest court, in a unanimous decision released Thursday, rejected that position, saying the board erred in finding the lack of coverage discriminated against Skinner based on his disability.
The court concluded that the board applied the wrong test for discrimination.
As well, the court’s decision said the plan did not cover medical marijuana because it was not approved by Health Canada, which the court said was a reasonable limit on benefits.
“It could not be automatically discriminatory for the trustees [of the plan] to impose reasonable limits on reimbursable benefits,” the three-judge panel said.