This is great news. After the federal government slashed interim healthcare for refugee claimants last year, it looked like a lot of people would go without. Provinces are taking leadership though, and good on them. Hopefully this means the beginning of the end of Harper’s whole tough-on-refugees policy.
Ontario is joining other provinces by reinstating access to essential and urgent health care for refugee claimants through the new Ontario Temporary Health Program, and will send the federal government the bill to pay for the program.
Last year, the federal government abdicated its responsibility to provide basic care for many refugee claimants by changing the refugee application process in Canada and cutting the Interim Federal Health Program.
Through the temporary provincial program, refugee claimants who are not eligible for health care under the new federal rules or through other government programs will be able to access most primary care and urgent hospital services, as well as medication coverage. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the program will help reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and stress on health providers by providing vulnerable refugee claimants with basic health care services as soon as a health issue surfaces.
Providing the right care, at the right time and in the right place is part of Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care. This initiative supports Ontario government’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.