I have a lot of work to do!

Hi.

I still need to write all about India and Sri Lanka. The last month has been very….full. I am getting there. Soon. Right now there are some other things on my mind!

One of the things I do with the Anglican Church, is I work with our Refugee Sponsorship program. I speak to churches and groups and teach them and work with them to help sponsor people who have been identified by the United Nations as refugees in need of finding a new country to live in. Working very closely with the Canadian government we compile information and fill out forms and give all of that to the government. The Government reviews the information, does background and security checks and if those are clear, then interviews the refugees. If the refugees meet the government’s criteria, then they get the designation of a Permanent Resident of Canada and then they can come here and try to start a new life. This is not easy, and most refugees around the world would like nothing better than to return home. But that is not always possible. Resettlement is the last option. It is a long process and not everyone who applies meets the governments criteria.

I have some serious concerns about Bill C-31 and the potential effects that has on the Refugee Sponsorship program. But that is a whole other issue.

When someone first arrives in Canada, even though technically they are eligible for Provincial Health care, it takes up to three months for that to take effect. What happens in those three months? The Government provides what they call Interim Federal Health Care coverage to the newcomers.

The Federal Government has announced changes to the Interim Federal Health Care Program as of July 1st. Read all about it  HERE.

I am all for fairness and stopping people taking advantage of the health care system. But the implications of this are that government and privately sponsored refugees who come to Canada will be affected by this.

Reading the specific wording of the policy, it seems clear enough. The problem is, the last time I had a a newcomer who needed to go see a Dr. it was very difficult finding a clinic that would accept the IFH coverage. I spoke with 6 clinics who refused to deal with it. They wanted cash up front. The thing is, that the IFH doesn’t accept the submission of receipts. With these changes, I imagine this will get even more difficult. If the provider of the coverage is going to be very finicky and essentially try not to cover things if they can get away with it, then the working definitions are going to limit it even more. Read the wording yourself HERE.

A real life story that has come in to my email today:

“I was disturbed when I read this e-mail as we have a real life situation happening right now.  We have a VOR family from Iraq and the wife has been for her dental check up.  She has severe gingivitis and had to have IV antibiotics for 3 days (twice a day) at our local hospital in March.  The dentist said she will need all her top teeth removed and she will require dentures.  I looked at the IFH website and was glad to see that it covered dentures but now I don’t know what we would do if she can’t get the work done before the end of June and if IFH doesn’t agree to pay as it is.”

In the case of Privately sponsored refugees, there MAY be the opportunity to raise funds (from the public) to pay for these services, that would be on top of the funds needed for a sponsorship in the first place. In the case of the Government sponsored refugees – the only people they have to lean on, is the government, who just cut the health care coverage that is supposed to cover them until they get their Provincial coverage. I guess as of July 1st  they are on their own. Welcome to Canada.

I have already sent a personal message to my MP expressing my concern. If you are reading this, I would ask you to consider doing the same. Forget the petitions and form letters – use your own words and tell your MP what you think. And hey, if you have questions? Ask me! I would be happy to try and answer them for you.

And just on the opinion side? Who’s next? First newcomers (vetted and approved by our government – NOT cue jumpers or interlopers, or cheaters, or scammers or criminals), and then maybe people that can’t afford healthcare – the poor? As these ever closer steps towards not universal, but rather two tiered health care systems, and other possibilities? If we don’t speak up what happens? And when it comes to us, who will speak up for us?

-Scott

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