Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Urgent: Reject Dangerous Cuts to Refugee Health Care

Act now! Let Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty know that you are deeply concerned about the impacts of these cuts on the most vulnerable people in our communities.

On April 25, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney, announced cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), which provides temporary health care coverage to refugee applicants who do not qualify for territorial or provincial health care plans. The changes, to go into effect on June 30, 2012, and will apply to all current beneficiaries as well as new applicants.

The proposed changes will threaten the lives and well-being of people who have already experienced trauma and hardship prior to their arrival in Canada. Toronto Public Health has compiled the evidence; reduced federal health services for individuals’ results in negative health impacts. Speak out.

What has RNAO done?

  • Read our Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper, Premier McGuinty, federal and provincial party leaders asking them to work together to protect the health of asylum-seekers by preserving access to health care coverage.
  • Read our resolution on this issue to the Canadian Nurses Association for discussion at the June 2012 Annual General Meeting.

What can YOU do?

  • Sign in the action alert below addressed to Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty. A copy will also be sent to the Hon. Jason Kenney Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism . You can edit the letter to reflect your experiences
  • Share this action alert with your network and ask them to email as well.
  • Join the National Day of Action on Monday, June 18th. Get details about the event.

To download a poster for the National Day of Action Monday, June 18, 2012

june_18_day_of_action_invite.pdf85.74 KB
Your Details


Below is the email that will be sent automatically to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Dalton McGuinty. You are welcome to edit the body of the letter to add your perspective and experience.

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty,

I am a registered nurse.


Barnes, S. (2012). The Real Cost of Cutting Refugee Health Benefits: A Health Equity Impact Assessment. Toronto: Wellesley Institute.

Brennan, R. (2012). Refugees will die if health care cuts go ahead Ontario nurses say. The Toronto Star, May 30, 2012.

Joint Letter to Minister Jason Kenney, May 18, 2012

  • Canadian Association of Optometrists,
  • Canadian Association of Social Workers,
  • Canadian Dental Association,
  • Canadian Medical Association,
  • Canadian Nurses Association,
  • Canadian Pharmacists Association,
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2012).
Examples of Coverage after Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program Take effect. Revised May 9, 20122

Physicians Protest Cuts to Refugee Health Care at MP Joe Oliver’s Office

Picard, A. (2012). Why cutting health care for asylum-seekers makes no sense. Globe and Mail, May 14, 2012.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. (2012). Reject Dangerous Cuts to Refugee Health Care. Toronto: Author. For consideration at CNA's Annual Meeting on June 18, 2012.

Toronto Public Health (2012).
Health Impacts of Reduced Federal Health Services for Refugees. Toronto: Author