February 20, 2019

DID YOU KNOW that the Ontario government currently imposes a 3-month wait on landed immigrants before they can access health care coverage through OHIP?

Because of the 3-month waiting period, many new immigrants are forced to pay for health care out-of-pocket, in some cases incurring great financial debt at a time when they are trying to establish a new life for themselves and their family in Ontario. Others delay seeking necessary medical care, resulting in the need for much more serious and costly treatment in the future.

The Right to Health Care Coalition has recently launched a postcard campaign calling on the Ontario government to eliminate the 3-month waiting period.

Why should the Ontario government eliminate the 3-month wait?

    1. It’s the right thing to do!
      Asking immigrants who have waited years to come to Canada to wait 3 more months for health care when they start paying taxes on arrival is just unfair! New immigrants have enough to worry about. We should welcome them into Canada, not burden them upon arrival. Recently, New Brunswick eliminated their 3-month waiting period, and their health minister is quoted as saying “It’s the right thing to do!” Help make our government say the same!
    2. It makes financial sense!
      If people delay getting health care when they need it during the 3 months, these can lead to expensive complications for which the health care system just has to pay more in the future! Why pay for expensive hospital care when you can pay for inexpensive preventative care and prevent complications? Covering new immigrants upon arrival costs less than 0.1% of our health care budget.
    3. It’s healthier for everyone!
      While immigrants are known to be healthier than their Canadian counterparts, health is unpredictable, and we should ensure that we are taking care of the physical and mental health of our newcomers. Also, from a public health perspective, it does not make sense to have any part of the population at large that can not access health care, especially in the case of vaccination and infectious diseases. It’s important to protect everyone!

For more information about the origins of the three month wait in Ontario and why it makes sense to eliminate it, click here for a copy of the Right to Healthcare Coalitions’ business case.

Click here for a copy of a briefing note to help you talk about this issue with your MPP and other key stakeholders.

RHC is a network of more than 30 agencies including hospitals, community health centres, settlement agencies and community centres.