Court hears legal challenge to Ottawa's health-care cuts for refugees - InfoNews

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Court hears legal challenge to Ottawa's health-care cuts for refugees

January 30, 2014 - 8:55 AM

TORONTO - A federal court judge is questioning whether provincial governments have truly filled in the gap left by cutbacks to health-care coverage for refugee claimants announced 18 months ago.

Justice Anne Mactavish is hearing a legal challenge launched by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Government lawyers have argued refugee claimants can still access health care through other programs, including those put in place by some provinces to reinstate access to essential and emergency care.

But Mactavish says not all provinces offer the same level of coverage, and in some cases, refugee claimants depend on the "whims" and "charity" of officials.

Ottawa trimmed medical benefits for newcomers to the bare bones in 2012 and cut some refugee claimants off completely, save for threats to public health.

Ontario reinstated the benefits Jan. 1. Other provinces have also taken steps to bridge the gap, including Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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