3rd Annual National Day of
Action for Refugee Health
June 16, 2014 at noon on Parliament Hill,
with Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.
It has been 2 years since the federal government made cuts to the Interim Federal Health program (IFHP), the health insurance program for refugees in Canada. Examples of impacts include people fleeing sex trade not having access to pregnancy testing, children with asthma not being able to access puffers.
IFHP cuts were made without consultation with the provinces or health care providers; all provincial health ministers have denounced these changes and have asked for them to be reversed. Over 20 national health care organizations have denounced these cuts with seven organizations writing a joint letter to the minster of immigration on three separate occasions asking to discuss the evidence for this policy. Unfortunately the minister has not had the decency to even respond.
While some provinces have stepped up with temporary refugee health insurance, this patchwork system still leaves refugees falling through the gaps, costs taxpayers more money through forcing preventable illnesses into emergency room visits, and is costly to the integrity of Canada.
1) Join us at Parliament Hill on June 16 at noon
2) circulate attached posters to others who may be interested
3) communicate with your MP your disappointment with IFHP cuts
(petitions will also be circulated on June 16), if using twitter
IFH cuts: the spoken word video
'Refugee health care cuts in Canada -- We're better than this'
Ikenna Onyegbula is a spoken word artist who opposes the refugee health cuts:
To read an interview with Ikenna, please click here.
Refugees taking a hit
In April of 2012, the federal government announced significant cuts to the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program, a program that provides temporary health coverage to refugee applicants. These cuts meant refugees would be stripped of all coverage except for essential medical treatment denying them basic and preventative health care. News of the proposed cutbacks provoked public outcry from the health care community. On June 18, health professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists participated in a National Day of Action to protest these changes to IFH.
Following such demonstrations and after substantial public pressure, on June 29th, just one day before the changes were to come in to effect, information on the Citizenship and Immigration website now indicates that government assisted refugees will continue to receive full coverage, including coverage for medication. Refugees who fall outside this category may be denied basic health care at a time in their lives when they need it the most. The cuts not only deny refugees the basic healthcare to which all Canadians are entitled such as pre-natal health care and puffers for children with asthma, but the cuts risk endangering public health. When people are not engaged in health care, infectious diseases go undiagnosed resulting in higher transmission rates.
Community Health and Resource Centres believe these cuts will needlessly put vulnerable communities at risk and that the federal government should reverse all the cuts to refugee health care. If preventable health issues are not dealt with early, they become more devastating and more expensive.
Community Health and Resource Centres and allies continue to pressure the government to reconsider the cuts. Community Health and Resource Centres across Ontario are working to document all negative impacts that might result in individuals “falling through the cracks” due to these health cuts. What is covered and what is not covered for refugee health care can be hard to understand.
Refugees and friends and families of refugees can consult the Health Care Coverage Chart provided by Blue Cross, or stop in or call your local Community Health and Resource Centre.
The next National Day of Action happened!
June 17th, 2013 : Noon on Parliament Hill
Here is a great video from the Concerned Students for Refugee Care - a group of health professional students from Saskatchewan and Ottawa.
Thank you MP Kelly