The Federal Court of Canada has ruled the federal government’s cuts to health-care coverage for refugee claimants constitute “cruel and unusual” treatment — especially towards children — and should be struck down.
In a decision released today, Justice Anne Mactavish also says that the changes announced two years ago create two tiers of health coverage between refugees who are from designated countries of origin and those who are not.
Medical benefits for newcomers to Ottawa were reduced in 2012, leaving most immigrants with basic, essential health care but without additional amenities such as vision and dental care.
However, rejected refugee claimants as well as claimants from countries considered safe by the government will be eligible for care only if they pose a threat to public health.
Refugee claimants can still access health care through other programs offered by provinces to create access to essential and emergency care. Government lawyers claim the new rules bring health benefits for newcomers in line with what Canadians receive and keep health care system abusers at bay.
Source: National Post