Ottawa, Ontario – Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, is pleased to announce that the Government of Canada has recently taken steps to reform the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), a program that provides health-care benefits to refugee claimants and protected persons. “Through this legislation, our Government remains committed to ensuring a level of fairness for taxpayers,” Benoit said.
If left untouched, the current IFHP would continue to provide basic health-care coverage, as well as supplemental health-care coverage including pharmaceutical care, vision care and dental care. Under the new provisions, protected persons and refugee claimants – including smuggled migrants and bogus asylum claimants – will not be able to access these supplemental health services that are unavailable to many Canadian taxpayers. “It is unfair to ask Canadians to fund benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that they are not necessarily entitled to themselves,” added Benoit.
As of June 30, 2012, the IFHP will continue to provide what is typically provided by most provincial health plans, including:
- hospital services, similar to what is currently provided in most cases;
- services of a doctor or registered nurse, similar to what is currently provided in most cases;
- laboratory, diagnostic and ambulance services, similar to what is currently provided in most cases; and
- medication and vaccines, but only when needed to prevent or treat a disease posing a risk to public health or a condition of public safety concern.
In 2006, the Conservative Government inherited an immigration system that did not meet the needs of a changing economy. With the action taken by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the Government is one step closer to building an immigration system that serves our national interest, grows the economy, creates new businesses and jobs, and attracts the best and brightest from around the world to Canada. “We must always find a balance between the generosity of the Canadian system and the need to protect public health and safety,” said Benoit. “This legislation does both.”