All across Canada today, doctors and nurses are banding together to protest health care cuts the Conservative government have proposed for refugees. The cuts are set to go through at the end of June.
Canada has, up until recently, traditionally been highly regarded for its work helping displaced persons find a new home. But refugees in Canada are now at risk of losing vital health care services. According to the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and Citizenship and Immigration Canada websites, the Tories are set to make the following changes to the health insurance program for refugees in Canada:
1. All refugees will lose access to medication coverage, vision and dental care.
2. Health insurance, where available, will be restricted to “urgent or essential care”; there will be no further coverage for preventative care.
3. Refugee claimants originating from countries the Minister feels should not be producing refugees will lose all health coverage, including for urgent or essential care. Exceptions are outlined in point #4 below.
4. All refugees will continue to be covered for issues of public health or public security concerns. These include some infectious diseases (but not common infections like pneumonia or pyelonephritis) and psychotic conditions where a person is a danger to others.
A number of protests are being held today across Canada, including in Toronto at the regional office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (25 St. Clair Avenue East), at 1 pm. Doctors, nurses, other health care professionals, and members of the general public are encouraged to come out and voice their support.
A Change.org petition has also been started, for people who support the cause.
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