Healthcare for All Torontonians Irrespective of Immigration Status!
By A Correspondent
In another landmark decision, City of Toronto councillors on May 9 voted in overwhelming support of recommendations by the Board of Health to provide improved access to healthcare services for its medically uninsured residents.
“Undocumented people have been falling sick and dying because they have not been able to access necessary healthcare services due to enormous fees, denial of service, and threat of detention and deportation.” said Abeer Majeed, a primary care physician and member of Health For All. “In passing this policy, the City of Toronto is once again being declared a Sanctuary City in which more people will feel comfortable accessing services that will keep them healthy, and out of hospital.”
Motion 21.5, based on recommendations in a report prepared by the Medical Office of Health, calls on the Ontario government to expand funding to community health centres, end the exclusionary three-month-wait for OHIP coverage for new residents, and put an end to discriminatory billing practices of hospitals who charge people without OHIP more for the same service.
With it, the City of Toronto demands that the Federal Government reverse its harmful immigration policies such as the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program that has left thousands without access to lifesaving health care. It also calls for healthcare facilities in the province to be sites free of immigration enforcement.
“This is a very important step for the City to take and we applaud this decision. Community members and frontline service workers must now all work to ensure that these recommendations are enacted upon and create a real difference in the lives of undocumented residents in this city who have been denied access to healthcare.” added Majeed. “We’re urging health and social service workers as well as community members to connect with Health For All and the Solidarity City Network to actively participate in ensuring this policy comes alive on the ground.”