Refugee health care temporarily restored in most categories

Government partial compliance with the refugee claimant health care coverage:

“We are doing this because the court has ordered us to do it. We respect that decision while not agreeing with it,” Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said following question period on Tuesday.

The government had until the end of today to review a 2012 policy the Federal Court deemed unconstitutional, “cruel and unusual” last July.

The government had asked for a stay until an appeal is heard, but that request was rejected on Friday. A date for the appeal has not been set.

“Under the temporary measures, most beneficiaries are eligible to receive coverage for hospital, medical and laboratory services, including pre- and post-natal care as well as laboratory and diagnostic services,” the government said in a notice posted on the website of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration over an hour after the minister spoke.

Children under 19 years of age will receive full coverage, while pregnant women will be covered for all but supplemental health benefits.

Supplemental benefits include “limited dental and vision care, prosthetics and devices to assist mobility, home care and long-term care, psychological counselling provided by a registered clinical psychologist, and post-arrival health assessments.”

However, refugee claimants in seven of the 12 categories included in the governments chart will not be covered for drugs or supplemental health coverage.

….The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, one of the groups that took the government to court over the changes the Conservatives brought in back in 2012, says the temporary plan does not comply with the Federal Court ruling.

“The government is still being punitive, they’re being selective and the court told them to reinstate all benefits,” said Peter Showler, co-chair of the refugee lawyers’ group and a former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. He is also an expert in refugee law at the University of Ottawa.

Showler was critical of the government’s decision to deprive certain refugee claimants of coverage for prescription medications.

“They are not in compliance with the decision based on the information that the government put out on its website today.”

Refugee health care temporarily restored in most categories – Politics – CBC News.

And the link to the table outlining what is covered and what is not:

Text of the government’s temporary plan for refugee health care

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Refugee health care temporarily restored in most categories

  1. Bill Brown says:

    Further to your article (“Refugee health care temporarily restored in most categories”) quoting Mr. Showler, the Government’s position is that the 2012 reforms are consistent with the Charter and have produced real benefits to refugees genuinely in need of Canada’s protection. The government continues to appeal the July ruling.

    While the matter is being appealed, the Government will implement temporary health-care measures as of November 5, 2014, consistent with the Federal Court’s ruling.

    The temporary measures provide health-care coverage to children and pregnant women, as well as coverage for those who cannot be removed from Canada because of a moratorium on removals. It also addresses the differential coverage between DCOs and non-DCO refugee claimants.

    Bill Brown
    Media Relations | Relations avec les medias
    NHQ – Communications | AC – Communications
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada | Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada
    365 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa ON K1A 1L1 | 365, avenue Laurier Ouest Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
    Office | Bureau JETS C1951
    Telephone | Téléphone 613-437-7593
    Facsimile | Télécopieur 613-941-7001
    Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

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