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Community Health Centres welcome Ontario Government commitment to Refugee Health
TORONTO (December 10) - The Association of Ontario Health Centres welcomes the Ontario government's announcement of the new Ontario Temporary Health Program which will ensure refugee claimants have access to essential and urgent health care.
"Many Community Health Centres provide services to refugees and have seen firsthand the suffering and confusion caused by the federal government's decision to make cuts to the Interim Federal Health program," said Adrianna Tetley, CEO of the Association of Ontario Health Centres.
"We're very pleased that Health Minister Deb Matthews has stepped up to fill the gaps in health coverage for refugee claimants to ensure that these most vulnerable people in our communities get the treatment and medications that they need. We join with health providers across the country in continuing to call for the federal government to reinstate the Interim Federal Health program - immigration is clearly a federal responsibility."
In 2012 the federal government made changes to the refugee application process in Canada and cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) which have had a devastating effect for many refugees who have been denied health care, often in emergency situations. The new rules are so confusing that even refugees who should be covered under IFH are being turned away by mainstream health providers or incorrectly billed for the health service.
Ontario's Community Health Centres, who have a mandate to serve people without health insurance, have continued to serve refugee claimants. The new Ontario Temporary Health Program will ensure access to most primary care and urgent hospital services, and medications for refugee claimants who are not eligible for health care due to the federal cuts to the IFH program. The Province will send the bill for this program to the federal government to cover.
The Association of Ontario Health Centres aims for the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone living in Ontario. AOHC looks towards a future without systemic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full health potential, where everyone can make the choices that allow them to live a fulfilling life. A future in which individuals, families and communities are served by, and are able to actively participate in, trusted healthcare systems that respond to people's and communities' needs in coordinated and comprehensive ways.
CONTACT: Association of Ontario Health Centres: Sofia Ramirez firstname.lastname@example.org 647.278.7926