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e-2492 (Health)

Initiated by Gerald Major from Oakville, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of critically and chronically ill Canadians, including children, older Canadians and police/military veterans are at risk of losing access to treatment;
  • Health Canada has a constitutional obligation to ensure a working medical cannabis access program is in place;
  • The only way to legally access medical cannabis is directly from licensed medical sellers through the mail; as mail service is scaled back, patients may face barriers/delays to accessing their treatment, forcing them into the unregulated market, increasing the potential of COVID-19 infection drastically and putting elderly and immunocompromised patients at severe risk;
  • There is strong clinical evidence showing the efficacy of cannabis for reducing dependence on opioids; disruption in medical cannabis supply puts patients at risk of increased opioid use, potential overdose and other related issues;
  • Switching to other medications at this time may require involvement from health care professionals when we should be taking steps to reduce the burden on the health care system; and
  • Seeing recreational cannabis stores in multiple provinces designated essential, we expect the same designation be applied federally to medical cannabis to support patients who need access the most.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to apply a federal designation of medical cannabis as an essential, constitutionally protected service so that all activities involved in preserving patient access to medical cannabis through the government-regulated stream qualify as essential services, and to maintain this important designation to ensure delivery of necessary medicines, including medical cannabis, should any restrictions in mail service arise.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Darren Fisher

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that individuals who require cannabis for medical purposes have reasonable access to legal and quality-controlled products. The Cannabis Act and its regulations provide distinct channels for access to cannabis for medical purposes for individuals who have the support of their health care practitioner.


In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has classified cannabis for medical purposes as an essential service and function. Health Canada recognizes that the pandemic has created a number of challenges for patients who access cannabis for medical purposes, and has taken steps to support continued access while continuing to protect public health and safety. Measures are in place to support the cannabis industry, without compromising health and safety, which will enable the legal cannabis sector to continue to operate and provide Canadians with access to cannabis for medical purposes. Health Canada continues to monitor production and inventory levels and the availability of cannabis for medical purposes. 


Health Canada has also heard the concerns of patients who may not be able to renew their medical documents during this time, either due to the need to self-isolate, or due to not being able to access their health care practitioner. In response, Health Canada has put in place a temporary regulatory amendment, which will provide a six-month extension to the expiry date of patient registrations. If a patient’s registration with the Minister or a federally licensed seller expires between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020 and they are unable to consult a health care practitioner to get a new medical document, they may continue to use their current registration document or registration certificate for an additional six months. This amendment facilitates patients’ ability to adhere to public health guidance to practise physical distancing by reducing their need to leave their home to obtain a new medical document from their health care practitioner during this time.

Open for signature
March 26, 2020, at 11:02 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 25, 2020, at 11:02 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
June 11, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00252)
Government response tabled
September 24, 2020
Photo - Don Davies
Vancouver Kingsway
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia