Citizenship and Immigration Canada to start ‘comprehensive’ review of 2011 policy
Canada has reversed its “migrant health card” policy requiring asylum-seekers to present a card from its public health system for medical care, the centre for public policy and research at the University of Waterloo said in a statement.
Canada endorses ‘safe third country’ pact with US to deter asylum seekers Read more
The policy ran afoul of UN human rights treaty standards and provoked a fierce backlash from medical professionals who said they would turn away asylum-seekers on cold, snowy days.
Canada has encountered a sharp spike in asylum-seekers, most of them from the United States, since Donald Trump was elected president last year.
Since the mid-1990s, Canada has agreed with the US to accept a small fraction of the world’s refugees. Refugees are eligible for health coverage and coverage is always accepted.
However, the scheme has been abandoned only once before, when a major winter storm hit Canada’s east coast in 2007, in the middle of the wait-list for asylum-seekers seeking to enter the country.
Doctors’ and nurses’ groups complained in April that non-emergency medical care was turning into a lottery for doctors because of insufficient funding for contingency plans.
“It has been the intent for a long time that individuals who have legitimate refugee claims and apply through the normal legal channels would receive these services,” said Dan Lawson, president of the Canadian Medical Association.
“Many people have expressed their disappointment with recent actions, but we are ready and ready to see the flow of asylum seekers decrease as quickly as possible.”
Citizenship and Immigration Canada said on Friday it would start a comprehensive review of its 2011 policy – a “migrant health card” for medical care – and would allow those seeking permanent residency to qualify for them without fear of arrest and seizure.