International

Canada restores healthcare for refugees

OTTAWA: The Canadian government announced it will restore interim healthcare coverage to all refugees, including failed claimants during appeals of their case, effective April 1.

Beginning next year, Ottawa also will pay for medical examinations and certain vaccinations prior to an asylum seeker’s arrival in Canada.

“The reform will ensure that all refugees and refugee claimants can access services based exclusively on their health needs,” Immigration Minister John McCallum told reporters.

“These changes will improve the health outcomes of refugees. They will reduce longer term healthcare costs… and they will help protect the health of all Canadians,” he added.

The previous Tory administration had in 2012 nixed government health insurance for refugee claimants who had been rejected.

This led to widespread confusion about who was insured and who was not entitled to government health benefits, which led some doctors to turn away all refugees and others to provide care without reimbursement of the cost from Ottawa.

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