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Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 203–213 | Cite as

Health Inequity and “Restoring Fairness” Through the Canadian Refugee Health Policy Reforms: A Literature Review

  • Valentina Antonipillai
  • Andrea Baumann
  • Andrea Hunter
  • Olive Wahoush
  • Timothy O’Shea
Review Paper

Abstract

Refugees and refugee claimants experience increased health needs upon arrival in Canada. The Federal Government funded the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) since 1957, ensuring comprehensive healthcare insurance for all refugees and refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada. Over the past 4 years, the Canadian government implemented restrictions to essential healthcare services through retrenchments to the IFHP. This paper will review the IFHP, in conjunction with other immigration policies, to explore the issues associated with providing inequitable access to healthcare for refugee populations. It will examine changes made to the IFHP in 2012 and in response to the federal court decision in 2014. Findings of the review indicate that the retrenchments to the 2012 IFHP instigated health outcome disparities, social exclusion and increased costs for vulnerable refugee populations. The 2014 reforms reinstated some services; however the policy continued to produce inequitable healthcare access for some refugees and refugee claimants.

Keywords

Refugee health policy Interim Federal Health Program Canada Refugees Refugee claimants 

Notes

Funding

This research did not receive funding.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

As this article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors, informed consent is not applicable.

Supplementary material

10903_2016_486_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 32 kb)
10903_2016_486_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 18 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global HealthMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.PaediatricsMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.School of MedicineMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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