Feds forced into last minute scramble on refugee health coverage changes - InfoNews

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Feds forced into last minute scramble on refugee health coverage changes

Migrants are escorted from the M V Sun Sea in Colwood, B.C.,in this Aug. 13, 2010 file photo. The Conservatives were forced to amend their policy on cutting off benefits for refugee claimants just forty-eight hours before it came into effect last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
July 03, 2012 - 5:41 PM

OTTAWA - The Conservatives were forced to amend their policy on cutting off benefits for refugee claimants just forty-eight hours before it came into effect.

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the end of extended health benefits for refugee claimants was never meant to apply to government-assisted refugees.

But with a June 30 deadline looming on the proposed changes, the department realized that's exactly how the new rules would apply — and officials were forced to get cabinet approval for an amendment.

The approval came through only at the last minute: the order-in-council making the change was signed on June 28 and published Tuesday.

The policy — which strips refugee claimants of access to pharmaceutical, dental and vision coverage — was announced in April and met with widespread criticism.

It initially divided refugee claimants into two classes, depending on their country of origin and status of their claim, but an exception has now been made for resettled refugees.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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