# 2015-077 - Drug, Medical Treatment, Spectrum of Care (CF SoC)

Drug, Medical Treatment, Spectrum of Care (CF SoC)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–08–24

The grievor obtained a 12-month prescription for medical marijuana from a civilian family physician and was denied reimbursement of the cost.

The grievor contended that as a Canadian taxpayer, it was unfair that he could not receive reimbursement for his prescribed medical marijuana from the Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) until he is released, nor from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) while he is still serving. He asked why if one federal agency pays for the medication, another does not.

The Initial Authority (IA) rejected the grievance on the basis that it was submitted outside the time limit. Nonetheless, the IA stated that he believed that the current CAF policy prohibiting the reimbursement of medical marijuana costs is reasonable and was appropriately applied to the grievor's case.

The Committee first explained that while the Canadian Courts have required that reasonable access be available to a legal source of medical marijuana when it has been prescribed by a physician, they did not direct that legally accessed marijuana be reimbursed by the Government or by group health insurance plans.

The Committee noted that Health Canada does not consider marijuana to be an approved drug or medicine in Canada, and that the CAF does not recognize the medical use of marijuana as being supported by and based on sound scientific evidence. As this is a key requirement in order for its use to be funded under the five principles of CAF Spectrum of Care (SoC), the Committee found that the decision refusing to reimburse the grievor was reasonable and compliant with the CAF healthcare obligation and commitment described in the SoC.

Finally, the Committee observed on the difference between VAC and the CAF, stating that VAC is responsible for providing care and support to former CAF members rather than serving members. Unlike the CAF, VAC does not have the obligation to maintain operationally ready troops. Rather, its unique function is to look to the care and needs of former troops. In this regard, VAC is not held to a standard of comparability with other Canadian citizens across the country concerning the funding of medical marijuana treatments. In light of the very different mandate for VAC, the Committee found that it would be unreasonable to compare its position on medical marijuana to that of the CAF.

The Committee recommended that the grievance be denied

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2016–01–28

The CDS agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.

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