Confirmed victory

Give equal access healthcare to all refugees in Canada by reversing IFHP cuts

This petition made change with 309 supporters!

Canada, you’ve been an exceptional country to us. Multiculturalism is embraced everywhere and is taken into heavy consideration when new developments are underway. From East to West, North to South the kaleidoscope of cultures that have come together to settle and build this great land have chosen to do so knowing what a great country Canada is and can be. 

You’ve treated everyone equally regardless of their citizenship status. So why have you chosen to go back on refugee health care and segregate them based on their status.

I'm talking about the cuts made in 2012 when the Interim Federal Health Program suffered an unusual decrease in funding to their programs. Sure the conservatives made it seem like we would be saving money, however “Pre-2012 cuts, the federal refugee health program cost about $84 million a year. At the time the feds said 2012’s cuts would save the federal government about $20 million a year. But provinces and health advocates argued it ended up costing the system far more and put the public at risk because of untreated illnesses.” - globalnews

This decision violated the fundamental human rights of refugees, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, without any lawful justification. Therefore, when it was declared unconstitutional by the Federal Court of Canada in 2014, the government chose to extend some level of healthcare to pregnant women and children.

As a matter of fact, many healthcare practitioners are turning patients away even if they’re covered since the refugee health care system has become so confusing. Denying basic healthcare to refugees means that they can only afford to seek medical attention once the disease or illness has completely overwhelmed their systems.

Here are examples of cases that have resulted from the IFHP cuts. The following list was provided on the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care initiative webpage:

  • An elderly woman from a Designated Country of Origin (DCO) country with an existing heart condition (previous heart attack) cannot have the appropriate investigations. On a subsequent visit, she has worsening chest pain and has to be sent to the Emergency Room.
  • A three year old child with vomiting has no insurance to see a healthcare worker because her family comes from a DCO country. 
  • A pregnant woman in her third trimester with DCO coverage is denied prenatal care and rescued by a midwife collective who agrees to provide care for free.
  • A recent refugee who was repeatedly raped in her country of origin presents with abdominal pain that is likely related to the assaults. The woman cannot receive investigations into her pain until her health coverage has been initiated.
  • A man with a life-threatening inflammatory disorder fails to show up for follow-up appointments to his specialist because of limited IFH coverage.

The new Liberal government has appointed a minister of Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship who is taking us towards the right direction.

As citizens of this country, let’s make it fair for everyone to live here regardless of their status.

- Please sign this petition showing your support for the reinstatement of the refugee health care that was taken away in 2012.

Thank you!


For an in-depth look at this situation please read the following:

Actual Health Impacts of IFHP document

Information sourced from:

Cuts to refugee health - CBC news

IFHP issues - Carl Acaadr

Overview - Globalnews

Even qualified refugees get turned away - Globalnews

Issues - Doctors for refugee care

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