TORONTO, July 4, 2014 – CDM welcomes the Federal Court’s ruling that Ottawa’s cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program resulted in “cruel and unusual” treatment of refugees. CDM congratulates Canadian Doctors for Refuge Care, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and Justice for Children and Youth for bringing this critical issue before the Federal Court. The decision to cut the IFHP has been actively opposed by physician and health organizations including Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Canadian Medical Association, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada since the cuts were announced in early 2012.
“Canadian Medicare was created to provide health services based on need, not ability to pay. Failing to provide health care for vulnerable populations of refugees and those seeking status in Canada means failing the central tenets of our health care system,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
The cuts to refugee health care took effect in June, 2012. Hon. Jason Kenney, acting as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration at the time, introduced the changes to the IFHP as cost-saving measures that would protect the Canadian health care system from exploitation by refugees. Judge Anne Mactavish’s ruling, however, confirms that these cuts had the greatest impact on refugee children whose health and safety were jeopardized by a lack of access to health services.
CDM applauds today’s decision as a progressive move towards reinvigorating Canadian Medicare’s capacity to provide equitable access to quality health care.
“Today’s decision is a very important step on the path to improving our health care system. We look forward to getting our health care system back on track by exploring how to implement innovations in health care delivery that allow us to provide equitable access to quality care in a way that is financially sustainable.”
For more information:
Katie Raso, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
T: 416-351-3300, C: 647-705-2192