“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?”



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