National Day of Action for refugee care - June 16 | National Union of Public and General Employees

National Day of Action for refugee care - June 16

To get involved in this campaign and to find out what is happening in your community, check the event listings.

Ottawa (13 June 2014) — The Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is organizing its third National Day of Action taking place on June 16. It is an opportunity to show the federal government that Canadians will stand up for the most vulnerable among us.

Conservative government cuts to health program for refugees have had a devastating affect on ill children, pregnant women and seniors with heart conditions

In 2012, the federal government made cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) that has had a devastating impact on some refugees. The CDRC has documented numerous examples of refugee patients who have been denied care — including ill children, pregnant women, and seniors with heart conditions — as a result of the IFHP cuts.

In January 2014, the Ontario government introduced the Ontario Temporary Health Program (OTHP) to “provide access to essential and urgent health care, as well as medications coverage to refugee claimants living in Ontario, regardless of the status of their claim or the country they are from.” 

Under the current process, Ontario hospitals and doctors must submit billing claims for refugee patients to Blue Cross, the government’s health insurance company, to determine eligibility under the IFHP and receive payment. This process usually takes at least four weeks. If the claim is rejected, it is sent back to the billing hospital or doctor. The hospital or doctor must then resubmit the same billing claim, to the same insurance company, for the same service but directed to the OTHP branch of Blue Cross. The Conservative government has prohibited Blue Cross staff from walking down the hall and transferring the rejected claim to the OTHP. More work is created for hospital and administrative staff, more taxpayer funds are being spent on Blue Cross inefficiency mandated by the federal government, and confidence in OTHP is being eroded by the federal government’s interference in a provincial program.

Frustrated by the Conservative government’s latest actions, and encouraged by support from health workers and other Canadians across the country, the CDRC is organizing a third National Day of Action on June 16

“Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care finds it deeply disturbing, even vindictive, that the federal Conservative government is trying to sabotage an Ontario program that was particularly directed to pregnant women , sick children, and those with life-threatening illnesses,” said Dr. Meb Rashid, medical director of the Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital. “We reiterate our call for Minister Chris Alexander to come to the table and have a rational discussion with health workers about fixing the government’s policy.”

More than 20 national health care organizations, all provincial premiers, legal experts, artists, faith-based groups, student organizations and other Canadians continue to call for the federal government to reverse the cuts to refugee health. The CDRC has joined with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers in a federal court challenges to the federal government’s cuts.

To get involved in this campaign and to find out what is happening in your community, check the event listings.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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