The Rant by Levant. We have a question? What should we do?

October 16th, 2012 — The Scarborough Volunteer Clinic

Last night we met Miklos in clinic. Yes, he is Hungarian. That immediately makes him the target of hateful rants from the likes of Ezra LeRant (aka Ezra Levant – Sun Media Sept 17th 2012), and the focus of negativity in Canada, with the release of CIC statistics on Hungary (Roma), and other refugee claimants.

Miklos arrived in Canada with his wife Ilona, seeking refugee status. Miklos’ wife received inadequate prenatal care in the EU. They lived in poverty, without adequate healthcare access. They lost their children in childbirth.

Miklos is not his real name. Same for Ilona. Our aim is to prevent any backlash against them as their refugee claim is heard. We realize Mr Kenney, thru his CIC spokesperson has attacked us and others for this policy, suggesting we ( health providers) are making this stuff up – but so be it. We have good reason to protect refugee claimants.

As we have pointed out unattended pregnancies result in maternal and infant death 7 times more frequently than those with proper healthcare. After the deaths of their newborn, Miklos was attacked and beaten up by Neo Nazi Arian thugs while living in the EU. He suffered severe concussions and brian injuries.  He developed epileptic seizures. He and his wife had enough. They sought safety and asylum in Canada. Miklos and Ilona were living a “safe country”, a DCO at the time of the beatings. Mr Kenney is about to lead Canada on a DCO journey of his own ( CIC WEBSITE)

Miklos works underground supporting an economy we all enjoy. He works at dangerous jobs, for less than minimum wage –  construction, moving jobs, anything to support the family. He works despite his seizures.

A month ago Miklos developed chest pains. He sought medical care. When they arrived in Canada 2 years ago Miklos and Ilona were granted legal status here, with Interim Federal Health Care for medically necessary problems while awaiting their hearing. Last time we looked, chest pain was a medically necessary condition?

Miklos and Ilona attended the clinic where they had been receiving care. But this time, they were told their IFH was no longer valid. They would have to pay to be assessed and treated. Somewhere, someone at a desk had reclassified them without so much as a word.

At our clinic we determined Miklos’ symptoms signalled a potential life threatening problem. He needed access to healthcare as soon as possible. He could not afford this.

Ilona and Miklos are in Canada legally, waiting a long time for their refugee hearing. Whose fault is that? As Canada drags its heels, they drag refugee claimants like Miklos and Ilona and others through life threatening circumstances, and cut their access to life saving healthcare.

What would Canada like its health providers to do here? How should we respond? Should we follow the CIC’s lead? Should we allow Miklos to go untreated, let him have his heart attack on the streets of Canada while the Government cuts his access to healthcare? And what would Canadian’s think of their own doctor or nurse, if they could do that?

Miklos was beaten with steel pipes by the same Neo Nazi Arian type thugs who in the recent past sent countless Jews and others to their innocent deaths, as they begged the world and us for help and safety. Mr Levant of all people, of all peoples, should know better. He should know the perils of promoting hatred by one race against another, by one group against another. The Canadian Government should be very careful if they are to focus their nation’s attention on racial and cultural groups seeking our help and suggest they are “bogus”. This can go nowhere good.  It has been tried before. Turns out to be quite a bad idea. The new policies of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, that put the most vulnerable of asylum seekers in harm’s way to fend for themselves, have no place in Canada, or any compassionate nation. Ditto for the Rant by LeVant.

Thank you Mr Farber for eloquently pointing this out.

Again, Miklos and Ilona are in Canada legally. When they are ill, with life threatening conditions, awaiting their fair hearing, Canada has a responsibility to respond humanely and effectively. How hard can that be?

Instead, Miklos faces the possibility of an avoidable heart attack, in Canada, a country he asked for help.



“She is covered – Today”.

That was the reply from Blue Cross when we called last week to see if we could arrange medically necessary pregnancy care investigations for Anna. She is a refugee claimant dating before Mr Kenney’s Orders in Council. She still carried, and showed us what she thought were still “valid” IFH papers. Anna is delivering a baby soon. The word “Today” caught our nurse’s attention. It is the first time we have heard it used when we call to find out who is covered for what under new IFH classifications. This was a first, and all very new to us.

None of us had the heart to tell Anna her papers, with Canada stamped proudly across them, were no longer worth the paper they were written on. Any day now, she was going to be “re-classified”, just like so many others refugee claimants we treat.

Our nurse asked what “Today” meant? It meant we must call again, tomorrow, to check if her eligibility to IFH has been reduced, cut, if she has been “reclassified”. And it means call again in 2 days when Anna’s tests are scheduled. It means we must call Blue Cross daily to see if her IFH coverage status has been cut. The reason, according to Blue Cross is because Citizenship and Immigration Canada is reclassifying the IFH status of many refugee claimants who are waiting their refugee hearings. CIC is moving through a long list, and Anna’s number could be up at anytime. We have no idea who is being reclassified, why, or on what criteria? Neither the patient nor their doctor are privy to what information is being obtained and how it used to reclassify?

If our government can do this, behind closed doors to refugee claimants such as Anna – what can they do to any one of use, whenever they choose?

It would now seem when Canada makes a promise, it isn’t worth the paper its written on.


“The CVC” – Community Volunteer Clinic

We have received many inquires. What and who is “The CVC”.  It is just a simple concept, a health and dental  clinic that arose from a sad story , and lot of unmet healthcare needs.

In 1999 an inter-professional crew of health providers in Scarborough learned that large numbers (thousands)  of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other newcomers to Canada resided and worked in our community – while being denied access to healthcare.

Some were in the 3 month wait Ontario imposes on its Landed Immigrants. Others were failed refugee claimants, sponsored persons, and homeless Canadian youth without the means to secure their health cards.

To respond to their medical needs a crew of inter-professional health providers opened medical clinics in a Church basement  in Scarborough in May 2000, to provide them free healthcare. The clinics are largely based on volunteer contributions from providers, donations, and some homelessness grant funding from the Provincial government. The medical clinics are drop in, and operate 2 evenings per week on Tuesday and Thursday, from 5 pm


1125 Markham Rd.

Scarborough MIH 2Y5

The CVC is affiliated with a free dental clinic providing basic dental healthcare, staffed by volunteer dentists. A Paediatric Outreach Program ( POP) is staffed by paediatric residents and their supervising paediatricians from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The POP clinic operates one Saturday per month and serves the swelling ranks of uninsured children in the GTA.

This the sad story that provoked us to respond.


Aisha, aged 18 years, from Grenada was attending college when she experienced another in a series of sickle cell crises and sought medical care at Scarborough’s only CHC. Her condition was beyond primary care. She was referred to the hospital emergency department. At first she refused to go, having experienced previous requests for up-front payment before receiving care. The doctor reassured Aisha that this would not happen. This was an emergency.

At the emergency department Aisha was told she had to pay $350 before they would provide care. She was told her situation was not an emergency. Not having the money, Aisha explained that her sickle cell crisis would soon leave her unconscious. It had before. Emergency department admitting staff told her that if she became unconscious, they would treat her without demanding payment first. Aisha seated herself near the triage station and waited. When she collapsed, she was taken in. After 3 days in hospital she received a bill for more than $5000.

Aisha was a sponsored youth in Canada, sent for by her father and stepmother at age 15. She had no choice in her immigration. Her parents later separated and left Canada. Her sponsorship lapsed. Aisha was left to fend for herself without health insurance. She managed to get a part-time job, find a room to rent, complete high school, and enter college in Scarborough. Her hospital bill ended her education.”

 The CVC started when someone in the crew said –

“if it Aisha’s job to fend for herself in Canada at age 17, when her sponsorship failed, to get a job, find a room, to finish high school and start College, then when she is ill, it is our job to treat  her?”