Refugee Health Vancouver is a practical resource to support clinicians who provide care to refugees in British Columbia.
Need a patient handout on diabetes in Farsi? Looking for a Spanish-speaking dentist in Vancouver who offers reduced fees? Not sure what convention refugees are, why they would flee Myanmar, or how you can bill to care for them? This site pulls together the answers for you.
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“Resettlement” is the term used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to describe the legal process of bringing a refugee to Canada to live as a permanent resident. There are three categories for refugees in Canada who are resettled from overseas (GARS) and gain permanent residency status on arrival:
A Canadian Visa Officer assesses each claim for refugee status through an interview process that occurs abroad for refugees and in Canada for refugee claimants. The applicant must also pass a medical examination, a criminal screen, and a security check.
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 2010
Refugee claimants are generally successful if they are found to fall under the definition of either a Convention Refugee or Persons In Need of Protection.
[For a guide to refugee hearing preparation, see Patient Handouts.]
Definition of Terms:
CIC – Citizenship and Immigration Canada
IFHP – Interim Federal Health Program
IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board
CBSA – Canada Border Services Agency
PIF – Personal Health Information Form
RPD – Refugee Protection Division
Unlike immigrants, refugees are ‘excessive demand exempt’, which means they will not be refused entry to Canada based on excessive medical needs.
The medical examination includes:
If patient tests positive for TB or syphilis, they must complete a course of treatment before resettlement. There are no other medical conditions that make a refugee ineligible for resettlement.
The medical exam may be done up to a year in advance of arrival in Canada in some cases. Therefore the results are not always up-to-date. Sometimes the IME results arrive with the patient, but more often they do not.
All GARS who are being settled in British Columbia spend at least one week at Welcome House in downtown Vancouver. Welcome House is a facility operated by Immigration Services Society of British Columbia which provides temporary accommodations and settlement services for GARS.
The resettlement assistance program (RAP) is funded by the Government of Canada to Convention Refugees Abroad and members of the Source Country Class, and in some instances, members of the Country of Asylum Class who have been identified as Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) cases, admitted to Canada as government-assisted refugees. These funds are given to help pay for
This money is also used to provide the refugee with income support for up to one year or until that person becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first.
This support is delivered by CIC-supported non-governmental agencies. Welcome House in Vancouver is an example of one of these service providers. A list of service provider organizations for Resettlement Assistance Programs in each province is available.
A video with more information about the Resettlement Assistance Program created for GARS is available here.
Translated educational handouts on health issues.
Dentists, physiotherapists and other community resources who speak other languages, accept IFH or offer reduced fees.
An overview of the main countries from which Canada receives refugees, with a focus on political and health issues.