Non Compliance with refugee court ruling by Canada’s Conservative government hurting everyone.

January 22nd 2015

On November 4th 2014 Federal Justice Wyman Webb rejected the Canadian federal Conservative effort to appeal the decision in July 2014 to overturn the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program ( IFHP).

Both decisions required that the federal conservative government restore the Interim Federal Health Program ( IFHP) to its pre 2012 status. It is our first hand experience at the Community Volunteer Clinic in Scarborough that this has still not happened – over 2 months after.

For countless years pre 2012 cuts to IFHP, refugee claimants were processed at their port and time of entry.  IFHP benefits were granted at that time until their hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

After the 2012 cuts, refugees were no longer processed for IFHP at their port of entry. They were directed to make a claim at an inland Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) office. This  has resulted in delays of 4-12 weeks before their IFHP becomes effective, During this time the refugee claimants are medically uninsured in Canada.

As of January 2015 this policy and procedure has not been corrected I am not a lawyer but is this non compliance, or contempt of court – and Canada?

Here are 2 cases that clearly underscore the harm resulting from the government’s refusal to restore IFHP to pre cut programs and policies.


L.S. age, 47, arrived in Canada on November 12th, 2014 from one of the 3 nations in West Africa caught up the Ebola epidemic. He came from the epicentre of the outbreak. When L.S. arrived he was not given IFHP. He was instructed to stay in his son’s apartment for 3 weeks ( 21 days). According to the patient and his son, they were not monitored.

Because L.S. did not have IFHP,  or money to pay for healthcare, he arrived at our Community Volunteer Clinic for care. It was 2 months after he entered Canada. He indicated no one form public health of Citizenship visited him in the 21 self monitored quarantine. He was alone, no healthcare, given no documents confirming he had successfully passed the quarantine period. No one came to give any health information or support.

L.S. has an appointment at the inland CIC office in 3 weeks – almost 3 months after he entered Canada. He might get his IFHP. He might not. Sometimes they want more documents.

This is not what would have occurred had he arrived pre July 1st 2012.

Case 2

S.M is 42. She arrived from Iraq and Afganistan. She lived in a village that ISIL attacked. ISIL slaughtered over 200 villagers. S.M. hid in the mosque with her 2 children and her elderly mother-in-law. Her husband managed to flee. They have not heard from him for over a year.

They managed to escape, and came to Canada as refugee claimants in early November. They still have no IFHP or any other health coverage. The children can not attend school without documents, All 4 of them live in one motel room on Kingston Road. It has a bathroom and a hotplate to cook on and bunk beds. Last week the mother in law had a small stroke and fell. She landed on a hot iron and burned her eye. She burned her cornea and could not see anything.  She went to the Scarborough ER. The shelter sent her.

At the hospital she was refused care because she had no IFHP or CIC documents. She did not have the $500 requested to be seen. They left. They came to the Volunteer Clinic. Her blood pressure was 240/120. This is why she had the stroke and fell, and burned her eye. Her medical condition in the ER was life threatening.

Government refusal to fully restore IFHP is beyond simple non compliance with a court order. It is abusive. It is unfair harmful and mean spirited. It may well be an assault. It is also dangerous to everyone – our refugees, and Canadians.