Canadians Fighting Back on Cuts to Refugee Health Care

Across the country, people are fighting back against the Harper government’s bill C-31 — a move to cut temporary health care provided to refugee claimants while they wait for a decision on their claim. The changes would mean that some refugees would only have access to urgent care, and some would have no health care at all, unless they have a disease that could endanger the public at large.

The Minister of Immigration says the changes mean that no refugee will have access to better health care than the average Canadian, but doctors are speaking out, saying that the bill puts lives at risk by taking away access to life-saving medication in some cases.

At the Canadian Mennonite University, students have started a campaign asking Canadians to send the Prime Minister 59 cents the estimated amount that each taxpayer will save annually because of this program cut.

Meanwhile, doctors and medical students have spoken out, including interrupting a press conference being held by Minister Joe Oliver, to speak out against the changes. That doctor promised that there would be more disruptions and they will continue to denounce the cuts. The medical student at the Oliver presser, Faria Kamal, said she was a first generation Canadian and that she was there to speak out because it’s the only platform they have left since the Conservative government has ignored the medical community at every turn.

“We are the ones that will deal with the front line repercussions of these cuts,” she says.

If they won’t listen to the medical community warning them about the risk they’re causing to people’s lives, maybe when the Tory offices start receiving masses of quarters, nickels and pennies they’ll start to understand.


Related Stories:

Tories Deny Care to the Less Fortunate

Life After a Refugee Camp: Helping Refugees Get Back on Their Feet

Returned Congolese Refugees Face Torture, Abuse


Photo Credit: Amy Boughner


Dale Overall

Guess Harper no longer wants Canada to be known as a place that generally treats refugees well. Guess he wants us to "catch up" to other countries...

Just shows how mean-spirited the Harper government is with everything. First they will start with the refugees and then slash everything the average citizen requires.

Elsa G.
Else G.4 years ago

Maureen H. What no reply. I can only gather that you are not yet retired, and in good health. When I was working. my employer One of the big five banks, provided us with free extended heath care. I developted heart problems and had 2 heart attacks, bypass surgery, put on disability, and lots of medication. Bill Nada, it was free. Then I hit 65. The companys extended health care disapeared. I'm now retired and have to pay out of pocket lots of stuff that was free before, dental care, glasses,medication. I've just hit where MSP picks up 70% of the cost for my medication only.
If I didn't have credit cards in good standing I would not have been able to afford my heart medication though Jan to June. FREE DREAm ON Maureen H. For us Canadian Citizens ther is NO FREE ride.

Sharon S.
Sharon S.4 years ago

Well Maureen H-when my in-laws came here they EXPECTED TO PAY THEIR OWN WAY. They were handed NOTHING/NADA. My parents did NOT fund my in-laws out of their income taxes. As for OAS, mine (I'm eligible in 17 months) & my hubby's (who has been eligible for 5 yrs 2 months) are @risk of being so low, that the 2 of us would have to share a dinky studio apt in a bad area of our large city just to barely crawl by if we had not been able to set a bit aside because SO MUCH of it is being drained by the immigrants who bring their parents over here & only have to live here 5 years to collect OAS. And a member of Parliament in Brampton/Bramalea area was campaigning in very recent years to get that qualification reduced. So 70 yr old hubby still works full time because OAS & CPP for both of us most likely wouldn't be enough even if we became permanent couch potatoes, not going anywhere unless absolutely necessary, while, others get it handed to them out of OUR & others income taxes. Guess you didn't read my comment thoroughly, I am happy to help others that help themselves & don't expect to sit on their behinds getting sizeable handouts from income taxes & whine that it is not enough, & laugh while they cheat the system & get more $ handed to them & I know of several people personally that do that & laugh at how stupid the CDN gov't is & how easy it is to get $ out of us. Help others by all means, but not while they get freebies while ma

Christine C.
Christine C.4 years ago


Elsa G.
Else G.4 years ago

Well Maureen H I'm refering to the fact that if I need new glasses, dental work it comes out of my pocket. I also have to fork our of pocket x number of dollars for medication before MSP take over the payments. The out of pocket expense it based on my Tax return. So NO it's not all free for me.

Coreen Kerr
Coreen Kerr4 years ago

Well Tricia H. Aren't u the pleasant one NOT! I totally agree with those that applaude this action I have paid my whole life into Health Care & am now retired I also got cut off MSA & now pay $64 a month for the coverage & this is from my pauper's pension. I live in B.C. born & raised here & am dam proud 2b a Canadian.
One of the bonus's that immigrants & refugees get is FREE OAP (that's Old Age Pension) that's why our OAP is in danger of running out of $$ cuz people come here 4 the freebie while the rest of us pay our WHOLE lifes 2 get our measley $4-5 hundred bucks a month. Here's an idea we'll send all of these "poor" to every bleeding heart that is speaking against Canadians 4 standing up for what is rightfully their's.

Mary Mattarelli
Mary Mattarelli4 years ago


Maureen Hawkins
Maureen Hawkins4 years ago

Sandra W: What province do you live in? I know of no province or territory that doesn't provide FREE Health Care for ALL residents or at least for indigent residents (even Alberta fairly recently made it free for everyone, not just the indigent). Are you REALLY Canadian--or some kind of misinformed American Tea-Partier?

Elsa G: Given that ALL Canadians can get standard Health Care coverage, what kind of Health Care "freebie" are you referring to?

Sharon S: Usually refugees are PROHIBITED from taking gainful employment; in fact, many are held in custody until their cases are settled. How do you expect them to emulate your in-laws?

Canadians: If we withhold medical care from anyone in Canada, we risk becoming a public health risk like the US, which is, simply, an epidemic waiting to happen. People untreated until they are in extremis end up harbouring more virulent forms of diseases and may be breeding grounds for anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Sorry, I don't want to get flesh-eating disease because some of you are willing to cut off your own noses to spite your faces.

Sharon S.
Sharon S.4 years ago

Thank-you Christina R. for your well thought out commentary, which expresses my feelings exactly in my almost mid 60s. When my in-laws came to Canada in 1953, they came here with only the clothes & other personal belongings they could cram into 2 suitcases as they fled over the border from Austria in the middle of the night to flee the occupation. They had only enough to pay their passage on a ship & arrived in Montreal. After a few weeks they arrived in Kingston to work on a farm to earn their way. They saved everything they could & 3 years later moved to Kitchener-Waterloo & bought a small old house with the children (@ 13 & 14) working in a furniture factory in the summers & turning over all their $ to the family pot, their mother worked cleaning houses to help pay bills & their father worked full time in the factory. They paid their own way totally, no freebies handed out to them & they were proud of paying their own way & wouldn't have it any other way. It was the same with all their European friends that they made here that had done the same thing before them. They came here, worked their behinds off & instilled the same values in their 2 children & grandchildren. I am not against helping others, I was raised by my parents to help others & I DO, but, whether you like it or not, I resent the hell out of having an amount which is over 50 % of my hubby's gross income (that's $2400 a month folks) plus free health ben

Jill R.
Jill R.4 years ago

Harper is doing all CANADIANS a favor by stopping health care to refuges and illegal immigrants. Sorry but we already have enough of our own citizens who don't get superior care. He also needs to stop Aid to any of those countries that are dying in their thousands. (I hear a collective in-take of breath !) Listen folks, we have been supporting many of the 3rd world countries for way too long and not one of them has done anything to help themselves. Years of receiving money and they now EXPECT more Aid. Sorry, I am a realist. Look after our own and then maybe you can help others.