Unifor and Aleafia Health Inc. are launching a leading-edge partnership to provide union members with access to medical cannabis as part of their workplace benefit and insurance coverage.
Unifor recently organized workers at Aleafia’s Canabo Medical Corp. call centre in Newfoundland, with workers voting 100 % in favour to become among the first unionized cannabis industry employees in the country.
"We’re proud to represent these workers and to partner in this innovative agreement to open the path for all members to access cannabis health and wellness services and products through expanded health benefits,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Dias said Unifor will use the collective bargaining process to enable members to access Aleafia’s medical marijuana clinics across the country, including Canabo Medical Corp., to cover medical cannabis on the cannabidiol (CBD) spectrum. CBD is prescribed to treat various medical conditions and is not psychoactive.
"This is a significant moment for the cannabis industry, and an important breakthrough for medical cannabis accessibility in Canada. Every day, our team of medical professionals see the benefits of cannabis in the lives of our patients," said Aleafia Health CEO Geoffrey Benic.
"Due to the progressive leadership of Unifor, and Aleafia Health's well-earned reputation for providing excellence in cannabinoid therapy, we will be able to expand these benefits to union members across Canada."
Unifor is developing online education programs for staff and local unions on the benefits of medical cannabis, reasons why it should be a priority, and issues they can anticipate when proposing insurance coverage include reimbursement of medical cannabis in collective bargaining.
In turn, Aleafia Health and its affiliates will provide Unifor members with access to its health and wellness ecosystem, including prescribing, treatment and, where appropriate, medical cannabis products.
Canabo Medical Clinic will provide an enhanced level of service to Unifor members not available through any other Canadian cannabis clinic. Members will receive a customized wellness regime, medical cannabis education, virtual physician consultation and a 20 % discount on prescribed medical cannabis products.
"This is about improving the lives of members suffering from chronic pain, among other conditions, and challenging the stigmas associated with cannabis,” Dias said of the binding letter of intent between Unifor and Aleafia Health.
Improved access to medical cannabis coverage may also provide further cost savings and health benefits to both members and employers, including a reduction in reliance of traditional pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Members are advised to consult their doctor and to refer to their employer’s drug and alcohol policy to ensure compliance prior to utilizing medical marijuana treatment.
Unifor members may book an appointment at Canabo Medical Clinics by visiting cmclinic.ca/unifor or calling 1-888-282-7763 toll-free.