The ‘Interim Federal Health Program‘ was ordered restored on Friday, by Judge Wyman Webb. He rejected the federal government’s request to further delay the restoration of benefits to people as they wait for a decision in their claim of refugee status in Canada.Listen
It’s estimated as many as 500,000 people may have been affected by the denial of health services over the last two years. Pregnant women, trauma and torture survivors, and people dealing with diseases from diabetes to cancer were largely left to their own devices.
Faraz Vahid Shahidi is a spokesperson for ‘Health For All’, a grassroots organization advocating for universal healthcare, regardless of immigration status. Shahidi said many refugee claimaints were forced into major debt having to cover hospitalization and medical costs themselves.
Cutting the IFHP was part of a series of austere changes to Canada’s Refugee and Immigration system, This cut presented challenges to healthcare workers, who could not suddenly turn their backs on people in need, particularly in emergency room presentations. When doctors and nurses had enough and protested with other advocates, they advised the government there would be no cost saving, as healthcare expenses would double or quadruple in the long run.