Canada: New WSIB Policy Allows Entitlement For Medical Cannabis

Last Updated: March 28 2019
Article by Cassandra Ma

Bottom Line

Effective March 1, 2019, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has instituted a new policy governing benefit entitlement for medical cannabis.

The Policy

Operational Policy Manual Document No. 17-01-10, "Cannabis for Medical Purposes" (the Policy), applies to purchases of medical cannabis or vaporizers for work-related injuries/illnesses made on or after March 1, 2019. The Policy was published on March 1, 2019 and will be reviewed in two years.

Scope of Benefits

Provided certain criteria are met, the WSIB may grant entitlement to medical cannabis. In such cases, the WSIB will generally cover the reasonable costs of medical cannabis if it is obtained from a hospital or a licensed vendor with whom the worker is registered as a client.

The WSIB will also cover the reasonable cost of a vaporizer if the worker is medically authorized to vaporize cannabis.

To qualify for WSIB coverage, the worker must obtain the WSIB's approval before purchasing medical cannabis or a vaporizer.

Entitlement Criteria

The WSIB may grant entitlement to medical cannabis for a compensable injury only if the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. The worker must have a "designated condition", defined by the Policy as neuropathic pain, spasticity resulting from a spinal cord injury, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, loss of appetite associated with HIV/AIDS, or pain and other symptoms experienced in a palliative setting. Further, the WSIB will consider entitlement to medical cannabis only if the worker's designated condition is clinically associated with either a work-related injury/illness or its treatment.
  2. The health professional managing the ongoing care of the worker's designated condition must authorize medical cannabis to treat the designated condition. The same health professional is responsible for reassessing the worker's response to medical cannabis. If another health professional authorizes and monitors the worker's medical cannabis use, the worker's primary treating health professional must support the use of medical cannabis for the designated condition.
  3. Except in palliative care cases, the worker must exhaust conventional treatments for the designated condition before the WSIB will consider entitlement to medical cannabis. A worker is considered to have exhausted conventional treatments when they have undergone adequate trials of appropriate conventional treatments for their designated condition and such treatments are ineffective or not tolerated. The worker's use of and response to the conventional treatments must be clearly documented in their medical records.
  4. An appropriate clinical assessment of the worker must be conducted before the WSIB will consider any entitlement to medical cannabis. The results of the clinical assessment must be clearly documented in the worker's medical records to establish the necessity, appropriateness, and sufficiency of the medical cannabis treatment.
  5. The benefits of the worker's medical cannabis use must outweigh its risks. Increased health risks of using medical cannabis include situations where: medical cannabis is contraindicated; precautions are present; there is a potential for adverse drug reactions; or the treatment may impede recovery. The Policy deems medical cannabis to be contraindicated for certain individuals, including those who are under the age of 25 or who have a current or past cannabis use or substance use disorder.
  6. The worker's authorized dose and route of administration must be appropriate. A dose of medical cannabis will generally be appropriate if it is the lowest safe and effective dose in terms of daily quantity and THC percentage. Also, the dose and route of administration:

    • Must not involve smoking;
    • Must not exceed three grams of dried medical cannabis per day;
    • Must be CBD-rich but contain minimal THC;
    • Must have a THC concentration of 9% or less; and
    • Should not exceed more than 30 mg of THC per day and in no case shall exceed 75 mg of THC per day.
  7. The worker must have a valid medical document or written order for medical cannabis that complies with the Policy's criteria and specifies the maximum THC percentage of medical cannabis authorized for the worker and the route of administration.

Ongoing Review of Entitlement

The limitations on entitlement reflect the inconsistent evidence of cannabis's therapeutic efficacy. The WSIB has indicated that, while the research into medical cannabis is increasing, the current body of scientific evidence does not support medical cannabis as an effective treatment for most medical conditions. However, the WSIB is satisfied that there is a relatively strong support, across peer-reviewed and other credible scientific sources, for the therapeutic value of medical cannabis to treat the designated conditions.

The WSIB applies a similarly cautious approach to claims where it has allowed entitlement to medical cannabis. For such claims, the WSIB will monitor a worker's medical cannabis use and its effectiveness every three to six months. The WSIB may suspend or discontinue entitlement if it determines that medical cannabis is no longer necessary, appropriate, or sufficient to treat the worker's condition.

The WSIB will also discontinue entitlement to medical cannabis if it receives evidence that a worker is misusing or selling medical cannabis.

Check the Box

  • Employers should review the Policy to understand the WSIB's criteria for granting entitlement for medical cannabis.
  • Employers should ensure that they comply with all WSIB reporting requirements for any employees using medical cannabis to treat a compensable injury/illness.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions