On June 17 Canadian Doctors For Refugee Care conducted demonstrations across Canada drawing attention to the Harper government’s 2012 changes to the Interim Federal Health Plan that would deny many desperate refugees access to our health system.
As the people in one of the following videos states, “the fact that there are people here in Canada who are deemed ‘unworthy’ of health care is despicable.”
Many doctors have filled the gap and have been providing care for free, but it is hardly a solution.
Two recent videos worth watching: the first is a very well-done promotional video prepared by the Canadian Doctor’s For Refugee Care for the Montreal rally. The second is coverage of Hamilton’s rally by our good friends at Operation Maple.
Please take the time, watch, and get active! It’s one more reason to show up in Niagara-on-the-Lake July 24-25.
Following the recommendations of the city’s Medical Officer of Health, the Toronto Board of Health is calling on the Ontario government to end the three-month wait for OHIP coverage for new residents and improve access to care to the city’s residents who are presently without health coverage.
The three-month rule is particularly difficult for new immigrants with permanent resident status and those returning to Canada after having lived abroad.
While there are agencies and health practitioners that provide limited health care to the uninsured population, a city staff report notes that demand far exceeds supply.
Others without OHIP coverage include people who have lost their identification, some refugees, temporary visa holders and undocumented residents.
The Harper government blinked this week.
Determined to bulldoze through unpopular cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) for refugees, the government partially backed off claiming they were simply “clarifying the wording” on the plan.
The plan provides interim comprehensive health coverage to refugees and asylum seekers until they qualify for provincial and territorial health coverage.
Cuts were due to take place at the end of June, but over the long weekend the wording was changed on the government website, maintaining so-called “supplemental benefits” to United Nations’ refugees the government selects and brings to Canada. The benefits are also being maintained for some privately sponsored refugees.