Letter to the Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Re: Concerns about the potential impact of the future cannabis legalization framework

Date de parution : 07/28/2017
Personne(s)-ressource(s) : Joan Weir

July 28, 2017

Ms. Kathleen Ganley
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Members of Executive Council
Executive Branch
424 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Sent by email: ministryofjustice@gov.ab.ca

Dear Ms. Ganley:

On behalf of the Canadian life and health insurance industry, we are writing to raise awareness of the industry’s concerns about the potential impact of the future cannabis legalization framework in Alberta on the existing medical cannabis framework. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association is a voluntary association with member companies which account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. In Alberta, for calendar year 2015, the life and health insurance industry provided more than 2.8 million Albertans with private health plan coverage and made payments of about $4.1 billion on health services. These plans help ensure Albertans have access to needed health care.

Coverage of medical cannabis is not a standard benefit offered by drug benefit plans. However, many drug benefit plans have companion healthcare spending accounts that provide coverage for products and services that are eligible under the Canada Revenue Agency’s medical exemption tax credit, and this includes medical cannabis and seeds. In addition, some plan sponsors have elected to add coverage for medical cannabis to their drug benefit plans.

At the same time, the numbers of medical cannabis permit holders has continued to escalate. In June 2014 there were fewer than 8,000 permit holders; 2 years later, there were almost 200,000 and this growth trend is expected to continue.

There are many decisions that the Government of Alberta must make as it considers its approach to legalization of recreational cannabis. By way of this letter, the CLHIA hopes to bring to your attention matters that may have an impact on whether individuals choose to obtain cannabis through the medical channel, as opposed to the recreational channel. Of particular interest will be the decisions made around price, taxation and distribution.


Joan Weir
Director, Health and Disability Policy