Toronto advised Green Shield before the HRTO on a discrimination claim for medical pot

November 28, 2018

Client: Green Shield Canada Inc.

Our Toronto office successfully represented Green Shield Canada Inc., which administers health and dental care plans through contracts with employers, before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

At issue in the summary hearing was whether any evidence could tie an applicant’s disability to the decision to exclude medical cannabis coverage from their insurance plan.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found a litigant had no prospect of success in a claim that their employer-sponsored insurance plan was discriminating against their disability by refusing to pay for medical cannabis.

Rather than being related to the nature of the employee’s disability, the decision said, the company denied the medical cannabis coverage because the treatment lacked a Drug Identification Number assigned by Health Canada.

The applicant submits that the respondent also denies coverage because it has a bias against cannabis use. Even if a bias did exist, the bias would not amount to a breach of the applicant’s code of rights. “The fact that a person who has been prescribed medical cannabis also has a disability does not establish the connection between the decision to deny the coverage and that person’s disability. The connection in that instance is between the type of drug and the decision,” Letheren, the tribunal judge wrote.