Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/4/2012 (3132 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
TAKING away dental, vision and prescription coverage for refugees means newcomers will have to go without or the folks who sponsored them will have to pick up the tab, says one of the biggest church groups that sponsors refugees in Canada.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced this week it's cutting supplemental health-care coverage for newcomers. "It's going to cost more if someone privately sponsored needs a prescription filled or dental work," said Brian Dyck, refugee assistance program co-ordinator for the Mennonite Central Committee in Manitoba.
"They will now have some of their interim federal health benefits cut off," said Dyck.
The federal government announced last week it was allowing an additional 1,000 privately sponsored refugees into Canada next year if they're referred by a visa office.
The new rules for health coverage announced Wednesday come into effect June 30.
"The announcements are coming fast and furious," Dyck said.
After June 30, government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees and refugee claimants will only be able to see a doctor, visit a hospital or get laboratory, diagnostic or ambulance service if it's deemed "urgent or essential," CIC said.
Medications and vaccines will be administered only if needed to prevent or treat a disease that is a risk to public health or a condition of public safety concern.
It means refugees will go without or their sponsors who support them for the first year in Canada will pay out of pocket, Dyck said.
After 12 months in Canada, the resettled refugees can apply for provincial health-care coverage and social assistance.
Social assistance in Manitoba covers supplemental health-care costs such as prescription drugs and dentistry, Dyck said.
A spokesman for the Manitoba government was not available to comment.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said many Canadians don't have dental, vision or pharmaceutical coverage, so why should refugees?
"...We do not want to ask Canadians to pay for benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that are more generous than what they are entitled to themselves," he said in a press release.
The interim federal health program cost $84.6 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
After the supplemental coverage is cut, the federal government expects to save about $100 million over the next five years.
To see what's covered now and what's being cut:
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.