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Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1041–1055 | Cite as

Harming Refugee and Canadian Health: the Negative Consequences of Recent Reforms to Canada’s Interim Federal Health Program

  • Helen P. Harris
  • Daniyal ZuberiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Recent legislative reform has drastically altered the ways in which asylum seekers are processed and treated within the Canadian immigration system. The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the provisions of which were staggered into effect over 2012, has created a two-tiered system whereby individuals are subject to vastly differential treatment based on their country of origin, status of refugee claim, and mode of arrival to Canada. Beyond introducing an extremely restrictive determination process, the federal Conservative government has also implemented a sweeping overhaul of the Interim Federal Health Program which has transformed health insurance coverage for asylum seekers into a limited and hierarchal system. This paper explores these draconian policy changes, outlines the problematic rhetoric and discourse that has fueled them, and details the subsequent level of organized opposition from the Canadian medical profession. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of predicted social and economic consequences that the reform will have on refugee claimants and on Canadian society as a whole. Finally, it outlines provincial reactions, with a particular focus on Ontario, and concludes with policy recommendations for the federal government and the province of Ontario.

Keywords

Refugee policy Immigration Health care coverage Health care reform Canada 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and School of Public Policy and GovernanceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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