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Health for All Welcomes Liberal Plan to Reinstate Refugee Health Care

November 8, 2015

Health for All applauds the new federal government's pledge to fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) in response to years of public pressure. We look forward to a quick reinstatement of the original program, and hope it is a first step towards providing health coverage for everyone who is uninsured in Canada.

Drastic cuts made to the IFHP in 2012 left many refugees and refugee claimants without access to necessary medical care and led to unnecessary suffering and preventable negative health outcomes. The Federal court had deemed these cuts 'cruel and unusual' and ordered the previous government to overturn them. However, even before these cuts, an estimated 500,000 individuals were already living in Canada without access to health coverage due to their immigration status.

"The 2012 cuts to refugee health care led to further marginalization of an already vulnerable group," said Melanie Spence, a Toronto nurse and member of Health for All. "Everyone should have access to healthcare as a basic human right and a matter of social justice."

The reinstatement of the Interim Federal Health Program is an important step to provide healthcare access to all people in Canada, regardless of immigration status. This includes new immigrants and temporary foreign workers who endure a three month waiting period in several provinces, and people without immigration status who are denied health coverage even in dire situations.

"We are extremely pleased that the Liberal government plans to fully restore the refugee health care program," said Ritika Goel, a Toronto family doctor and member of Health for All. "We urge the federal government to take further positive steps to ensure health care is provided to all people living in Canada."

For more information contact:
Melanie Spence
Health for All
Phone: 416-726-1840

Ritika Goel
Phone: 416-890-7489

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