Last Updated on septembre 27, 2021
Children of temporary foreign workers and international students in Quebec are now covered by that province’s healthcare system, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).
The change to Quebec’s healthcare system means all children are now eligible for the Québec health insurance and basic prescription drug insurance plans if they are present in Québec for more than six months per year, whether they were born there or not.
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- children temporarily living in Québec, for example, those of foreign workers or students, and;
- children without legal status in Canada.
The new provisions which took effect on Sept. 22 are the result of a law passed in June this year and also mean an end to the three-month waiting period for those settling in Quebec during which they were previously ineligible for health insurance.
Advocates of healthcare for all children living in Canada had been lobbying the Quebec government for years to get this medical coverage.
In 2017, the Quebec branch of Amnesty International and Doctors of the World launched a joint petition to request health coverage by the RAMQ for all Canadian children living in the province.
“Not all Canadian children living in Quebec have access to free and universal healthcare as dictated by the Canada Health Act,” the associations noted in a statement four years ago.
“Children born in Canada, and therefore Canadian citizens, but whose parents have precarious immigration status, do not receive medical coverage from Quebec’s health plan, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.”
The organizations maintained this went against the international commitments made by Quebec and Canada to give all children in this country access to healthcare.
Doctors of the World had by then already been operating a clinic in Montreal since 2011 for uninsured migrants with precarious immigration statuses.
Volunteer nurses and doctors provided care as well as other services to these Canadian children who could not receive medical treatment through the Quebec healthcare system without paying large sums of money.
Quebec, which is bullish on immigration, has also lately doubled the limit on the percentage of temporary foreign workers that businesses in some sectors of the economy can hire, going to 20 per cent of the workforce from 10 per cent.
“The recruitment of temporary foreign workers is one of the options Quebec businesses will now have to deal with the labour shortage,” Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet said in French in a statement.
“With this flexibility in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, we are supporting businesses suffering from an urgent need for workers.”
Quebec is also offering up Temporary Open Work Permits, (the Permis de travail ouvert transitoire – PTOT) to those who have submitted an application for permanent residence as skilled workers. These will be two-year work permits that can be renewed for an additional year, provided the worker remains in Quebec.
These work permits will also be offered to the applicant’s spouses regardless of that spouse’s type of employment.
The province has also announced a new pathway to permanent residency under the International Mobility Program that will allow 7,000 workers per year to be brought in without having to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
“We have listened to temporary foreign workers and Quebec businesses,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault. “As a result of these agreements, we have taken an important step in supporting economic development in Quebec, its businesses and its regions, to make things easier for foreign workers applying for immigration.”