Today we mark an important victory for health and social justice in Canada.
After years of public pressure and the unprecedented mobilization of health care providers, as of April 1, 2016, the federal government is restoring the refugee health program which was drastically cut in 2012.
The Conservative government’s cuts left refugees and refugee claimants without access to necessary medical care. On the ground, this meant many pregnant women were denied coverage for prenatal care and delivery, and children were denied coverage for crucial medicines and care.
As health-care providers, we witnessed the suffering caused by these cuts, which were rightly found to be “cruel and unusual” by the Federal Court. In the wake of these cuts, several provinces rushed to fill the gap by providing provincial coverage for those left behind. The reversal of these cuts shows us that Canada believes in the notion of health care for all people with a truly universal health-care system for everyone.
While we applaud the government in reversing the cuts made to this program and await the implementation of this reversal, there are still many that are left behind.