The federal government made a controversial cut to refugee health care last summer, and now the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers have launched a federal court case against the Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister. The case will attempt to prove the cuts are illegal and unconstitutional.
The cuts made by the government removed health care for refugees who have had their claims rejected or who come from “safe” countries.
While many may feel that it makes sense to not spend the money to provide health care to people who have remained in the country after having their claim denied, it’s not so cut and dry.
Many Failed Refugee Claimants Caught In Catch-22
The reality is, many refugees must remain in Canada even if their claim is denied. Several of these cases were recently profiled in the Toronto Star. One man is a refugee claimant from Iraq, whose claim was denied. However, Iraq is considered to be too dangerous for him to be deported to, so he remains in Canada in limbo. He has a genetic disorder that causes organ damage, but can no longer get the testing that can help him keep his condition under control.
Another man is from Afghanistan, and has to rely on free clinic samples of insulin to keep him alive because of his diabetes. Pre-natal care, a life-saving type of care for women who are pregnant, has also been cut.
While the cuts can save money in the short-term, cutting money for testing and treatment of illnesses such as these now will only result in serious illnesses and emergency situations later, where emergency room doctors will treat them for a much higher cost than preventative medicine.
The federal case may take up to a year before it is heard. What do you think?
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