Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 439–442 | Cite as

Differences in Self-Reported Health and Unmet Health Needs Between Government Assisted and Privately Sponsored Syrian Refugees: A Cross-Sectional Survey

  • Anna OdaEmail author
  • Michaela Hynie
  • Andrew Tuck
  • Branka Agic
  • Brenda Roche
  • Kwame McKenzie
Original Paper


Between November 2015 and January 2017, the Government of Canada resettled over 40,000 Syrian refugees through different sponsorship programs (GAR and PSR). Timely access to healthcare is essential for good health and successful integration. However, refugee support differs depending on sponsorship program, which may lead to differences in healthcare service access and needs. A cross-sectional study with a sample of Syrian refugees was conducted to assess healthcare access, and perceived physical and mental health status. Results indicate demographic and healthcare access differences between GARs and PSRs. GARs reported significantly lower perceived physical and mental health, as well as, higher unmet healthcare needs than PSRs. GARs are among the most vulnerable refugees; they report higher needs, more complex medical conditions and tend to have more difficulty re-settling. These factors likely combine to help explain lower self-reported health and higher health needs in our sample compared to PSRs.


Syrian refugees Canada Mental health Physical health Healthcare access and health needs 



This research study was funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

No competing interests.

Ethical Approval

This study received ethics approval from CAMH and York University boards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Oda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michaela Hynie
    • 2
  • Andrew Tuck
    • 1
  • Branka Agic
    • 3
    • 4
  • Brenda Roche
    • 5
  • Kwame McKenzie
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Health Equity DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Health Equity DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  4. 4.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Wellesley InstituteTorontoCanada

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