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Call to non-cooperation with IFHP cuts launched in Toronto

July 15, 2012

Health care workers and other service providers refuse to comply with restrictions to the refugee health program and call for action

Toronto – Health provider collective Health for All and immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal – Toronto are joining a public campaign of non-cooperation with the recent cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), which came into effect on June 30, 2012.

Under the theme ‘’We refuse to cooperate’’, the groups are calling on health care providers and other services across the country to organize and affirm their intention to not comply with the cuts imposed by the federal government. Midwives, doctors, acupuncturists, nurses, psychologists and other health care and other service providers will publicly declare their commitment to non-cooperation with the cuts at a rally in Toronto and through a broad call via the internet.

“We are determined to reject these inhumane and draconian cuts that threaten the health and dignity of migrant communities who are already marginalized. This is a call to continue the unprecedented mobilization of health care providers and people in general to massively reject these cuts’’, stated Dr. Abeer Majeed of Health for All.

The cuts to the IFHP are intimately linked to the recent Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, more aptly known as the Refugee Exclusion Act. They essentially deny healthcare services (including hospital services, medical services and medications) to a significant number of refugee claimants, with the exception of persons whose health issues ‘’threaten public security or public health’’. Only refugee claimants coming from certain countries will be able to access ‘’urgent and essential’’ health care services.

“Minister Kenney has stated that these cuts were introduced because of financial reasons and out of concern for "equity" with the rest of the Canadian population. Not only is this argument absurd, but it is a pretext for the introduction of ideological measures that portray migrants as intruders and threats, while completely disregarding issues of justice and human dignity. True equity would entail adequate health care for all. Regressive Conservative measures such as these are what constitute a threat to public health, not migrants", added Nanky Rai, a member of No One Is Illegal – Toronto.

The Interim Federal Health Program, already criticized for its restrictive nature, provided coverage for ‘’essential and urgent services’, including certain essential medications and some preventative care for refugee claimants. Prior to the most recent cuts coming into effect, tens of thousands of migrants across Canada were denied health care based on their immigration status. Following the cuts imposed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it will be hundreds of thousands more who will be living in even greater precarity.

"The Refugee Exclusion Act, along with the IFHP cuts, will create a system that further discriminates against refugee claimants on the basis of their nationality and will dramatically increase the number of people forced to live underground, without access to essential services. These policies mean more families will be separated and more people will be detained and deported. It is fundamental to mobilize against these inhuman and racist cuts”, added Rai.

Source: Health for All & No One Is Illegal - Toronto and

For more information contact:
Dr Abeer Majeed
Phone: 647-928-5729

Nanky Rai
Phone: 416-602-0131

Health for All

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