October 6, 2014
Hon. Chris Alexander, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, ON, K1A 1L1
Dear Minister Alexander,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM), I am writing to support the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) request for you to reconsider the federal government’s appeal of the ruling of the Federal Court released on July 4, 2014 (Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care v AG Canada; 2014 FC651).
As an organization driven by evidence-based findings we strongly believe that health care policy and actions should be supported by evidence. The Federal Court’s ruling noted that Ottawa’s cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) resulted in the “cruel and unusual” treatment of refugees. In addition, there is strong evidence provided by experts demonstrating that these changes have had significant detrimental effects on the health of refugees, in particular pregnant women and ill children. Lack of health care coverage through the IFHP is resulting in health care costs being incurred at the provincial level, often for health issues that could have been prevented.
Cuts to IFPH for refugees have put many health care providers in the impossible position of having to refuse care to people who are ill or risk contravening federal regulations. We strongly support the CMA’s call to the federal government to forgo an appeal of the court’s decision and to reverse the changes to the IFHP. Providing health coverage for refugees, a vulnerable population, is an integral part of our vision of having “a high-quality, equitable, sustainable health system built on innovations developed from the best available evidence.”
Dr. Monika Dutt
Chair, Canadian Doctors for Medicare