Health Inequity and “Restoring Fairness” Through the Canadian Refugee Health Policy Reforms: A Literature Review
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Refugees and refugee claimants experience increased health needs upon arrival in Canada. The Federal Government funded the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) since 1957, ensuring comprehensive healthcare insurance for all refugees and refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada. Over the past 4 years, the Canadian government implemented restrictions to essential healthcare services through retrenchments to the IFHP. This paper will review the IFHP, in conjunction with other immigration policies, to explore the issues associated with providing inequitable access to healthcare for refugee populations. It will examine changes made to the IFHP in 2012 and in response to the federal court decision in 2014. Findings of the review indicate that the retrenchments to the 2012 IFHP instigated health outcome disparities, social exclusion and increased costs for vulnerable refugee populations. The 2014 reforms reinstated some services; however the policy continued to produce inequitable healthcare access for some refugees and refugee claimants.
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