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An open letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney from the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada asking him to reverse the decision to cut health care for failed refugee claimants has not had an effect, as his office has said that there will be no change.
The law denies health care to failed refugee claimants, and the statement from the office has called the failed refugee claimants “illegal immigrants”.
“Canadians have been clear that they do not want illegal immigrants and asylum seekers with unfounded refugee claims receiving free, gold-plated health-care benefits that are better than those that hard-working Canadians taxpayers and seniors receive. Our government has listened and acted,” the statement said.
The issue is, failed refugee claimants are not necessarily in Canada illegally. Some of them have the right to appeal, and must remain in Canada to do so. In addition, there are cases where failed refugee claimants cannot be deported from Canada because their home countries are so unsafe, rendering them in an immigration limbo without healthcare.
The CBC recently published the story of one refugee claimant who pays taxes and works in Canada, but who moved without registering her address with the Immigration and Refugee Board – rendering her claim “failed” despite it not being assessed. The woman was later diagnosed with cancer and the government would not pay for her healthcare, although she was able to obtain chemotherapy from the Alberta Health Services.