As apart of our ongoing advocacy on behalf of the sick, disabled and terminally ill Canadians who access medical cannabis through the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (section 2), we are pleased to share this official response direct from the management team at the Office of Medical Cannabis.
Your constructive comments about this information release will help us to focus our ongoing efforts to make a better system for all.
*** Official Release***
Health Canada - Sept. 25, 2017
Thank you for sharing the concerns of the Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Partners Society. As discussed when we spoke in August, the Office of Medical Cannabis welcomes feedback from Canadians who use cannabis for medical purposes.
I have forwarded your feedback regarding the interactions with the call centre to the Manager of Client Services. This feedback will be used in future training sessions for staff.
We are working to process registrations as quickly as possible. The processing time can take anywhere from 8-16 weeks, depending on the complexity of the information. Since the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations came into force on August 24, 2016, Health Canada has received and processed more than 15,000 applications from individuals seeking to register or renew their application to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical needs, or to designate another person to produce it on their behalf.
Patients are encouraged to make sure that they complete the form and call our call centre at 1-866-337-7705 should they have any questions and our call centre staff will walk them through the application. Patients should consult the published instructions when filling out the form: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/guidance-document-completing-production-own-medical-purposes-and-production-designated-person-registration-form.html
Although not required by the regulations, patients may voluntarily provide a proof of address (driver’s licence, copy of utility statement, something that links their name to their address and/or the address that they are registering as their production site) along with their registration package to assist our reviewers in processing the application.
Processing times are improving as a result of the addition of personnel to the registration centre. The number of active and valid registrations has increased from 6,880 at the end of June 2017, to 10,547 registrations as of August 31, 2017, an increase of 53% in a two-month time period. Health Canada continues to examine ways to process applications more efficiently and to better inform the public about what must be included in an application package. We are also working on developing service standards.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the issues faced by individuals accessing cannabis for medical purposes.
The following is the content of the original request from the CTCP Society
Thanks again for adding us to the Stakeholder Organization list.
I am contacting you on behalf of the CTCP Society and all of the sick, disabled and terminally ill citizens that rely on cannabis as their medicine of choice.
I continue to get many complaints about the ongoing processing issues and now, another new issue.
New Issues - Help line workers
I know you are working hard to address these issues but I need some good information that I can pass on to help reassure these very concerned patients who are often coping with health issues that are aggravated by stress.
I noticed that the FY 2017-18 Q1 market data has been posted. Unfortunately it ends in June so we cannot see the past 10 weeks data.
If you could, would you mind sending me whatever up to date data you can share related to turnaround times?
I know you are busy and I may be asking a lot but some patients are discouraged to the point of despair. They need reassurance that there is some hope that things are improving and will continue to improve.
Any kind of data or possibly a statement that can be passed on would be greatly appreciated.
I am on your side. We have the best medical cannabis program in the world. Ongoing issues detract from that message.
I acknowledge the challenges faced by the O.M.C. and want to help. Give me something reassuring to tell the patients.
Thanks for your understanding Sarah, I appreciate anything you can do.
Ross Middleton - Secretary - Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Partners Society
Follow up request
Looking forward to your reply to my previous email.
I would like to add another question if I may.
Why are some patients with applications that have been in process for up to 7 months suddenly being asked for copies of I.D. like health cards?
Doctors always verify the identity of the person they are authorizing before they sign.
Thanks so much !!
Ross - CTCP Society