A Toronto man who has asked to stay unnamed had his driver's license suspended after admitting he regularly smokes marijuana to his doctor.
The 53-year-old man was referred to psychoanalyst Dr. Peter Phua back in October, who was supposed to help the man with his severe anxiety and claustrophobia. The man revealed to Phua that he regularly smoked marijuana as a means of treating symptoms associated with his Crohn's Disease and his past bouts with cancer.
Upon learning this Phua told the man he could have his license suspended for his marijuana use. The man explained to Phua that, "I don't smoke and drive." The man said that as the owner of his own business his is conscientious of what his actions could mean for his employees. At the time the man didn't feel like he had anything to worry about and is always truthful with his physicians.
"He's a doctor, I thought I could trust him. If you can't trust your doctor who can you trust?" the man told Global News.
However, a week after his second meeting with Phua, the man received a call from the psychoanalyst saying he had filed for the man's licenses to be suspended. The man got a letter from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) sometime after saying his license would be revoked as of October 22. The letter stated his license was being suspended due to "evidence of medical condition that would affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle."
"It was unreal, it sucked the air out of me," the man said.
Despite patient confidentiality laws, physicians, optometrists and nurse practitioners are required by law to report conditions that may make it dangerous for a person to drive. This includes any "uncontrolled substance use disorders."
The man the filed a complaint against Phua with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The man also appealed the MTO decision. He sent a letter from his longtime gastroenterologist with the appeal that said in part that the man has "no dependent history of impairment."
"I got my license back in two weeks," after filing the appeal, said the man. "[Ministry staff] said it was a miracle."
The man says here is happy top have is license back but is concerned about what might happen to other people who responsibly use cannabis and want to be able to speak openly to their physicians.
"It's going to be a big problem. You want to trust a doctor. But if they suspend your license, I don't know."