Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care (CDRC), the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), and Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) welcome the Federal Court judgment released today in CDRC CARL, JFCY, Rodrigues and Ayubi v. Canada. The decision declares the federal government cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) unlawful and unconstitutional. The cuts are not merely wrong, they constitute cruel and unusual treatment, and outrage standards of decency and shock the conscience of Canadians.
The IFHP has been in existence since 1957 and is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The program previously paid for basic health care for refugee claimants until they left Canada or became eligible for provincial health care. Without notice or consultation, the federal government abolished the program in June 2012, and replaced it with a program that denies basic, emergency, and life-saving medical care to thousands of refugee claimants who have lawfully sought Canada’s protection. Even where provinces such as Ontario have attempted to fill the gap, the federal government persists in obstructing their efforts. CDRC, CARL, and JFCY, together with two individual patients who were severely impacted by the cuts, challenged the legality of the IFHP cuts before the Federal Court of Canada.