Refugees and asylum claimants in Canada will have full health-care coverage through the restored Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, announced today.
The IFHP will be restored after the significant cuts to it the previous Conservative government implemented in June 2012. These cuts provoked protests of healthcare professionals and activists in many cities in Canada.
From April 1, 2016, the IFHP will provide to eligible beneficiaries basic, supplemental and prescription drug coverage. The basic coverage will be similar to the provincial/territorial health-care insurances and will include hospital and physician services. The coverage for supplemental health-care services, such as vision and urgent dental care, and prescription drugs, will be similar to what the provinces and territories provide to Canadians who receive social assistance.
Also, by April 2017, the IFHP will start covering some services for resettled refugees before they come to Canada. It will cover immigration medical examination, pre-departure vaccinations, services to manage disease outbreaks in refugee camps, and medical supports during travel to Canada.
“A robust program for refugee health care will improve health outcomes, protect public health for all Canadians and help provincial and territorial governments reduce longer-term health-care costs,” says Jane Philpott, Minister of Health.