Refugee Health: Health care workers and students freeze outside waiting for Matthews
Piece in OPSEU’s Diablogue about Health for All’s Fill the IFH Gap Rally:
There were hard lessons learned today about how democracy is practiced in this province.
About 60-70 protesters, most young health care workers and students, spent more than an hour and a half today outside the downtown Toronto offices of the Ministry of Health. They waited in the bitter cold, hanging on for a possible meeting with Minister Deb Matthews. The size of the crowd varied as participants left and returned again in an effort to keep warm.
Upset about last year’s changes to the Interim Federal Health Plan that would deny many desperate refugees access to our health system, the protesters wanted Ontario to fill the gap left behind by the senior level of government. Several other provinces – including Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec have already done as much. Manitoba said it would send the bills back to Ottawa.
So why is Ontario waiting?
Health Minister Deb Matthews had already provided the group with all the arguments they needed. She wrote to Federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney back in December, suggesting that such cuts not only represent downloading to the provinces, but risked escalating the cost of care for these individuals as small problems turned into larger ones without access to reasonable health care coverage.
Read the full blog post here.