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Canadian Supreme Court healthcare ruling irks newcomers

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear Nell Toussaint’s leave application to determine her constitutional right to access healthcare, effectively barring access to healthcare for thou-sands of uninsured people needing medical treatment.

“When people do not want to allow me to have access to the healthcare I require, I feel that my life and health are devalued because of my immigration status,” said Toussaint. “The Supreme Court’s decision saddens me because I fear my health will further deteriorate and I don’t know what I’ll do because I don’t have the money to pay for tests and treatment.”

Toussaint, 42, has lived in Canada since 1999. She came to Canada from Grenada on a visitor’s visa and worked to sup-port herself, including paying for minor medical care when needed, until her health began to deteriorate in 2006, leaving her unable to work. In 2008, having been denied medical care on multiple occasions, she app-lied for a temporary residence permit that would make her eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Her application was not processed as she was unable to pay the application fee.

Dr. Meb Rashid, a family physician who has worked extensively with refugee populations, said, “It is unacceptable to deny necessary healthcare to residents of Canada, regardless of their immigration status.”

Health for All is a multi-disciplinary group of migrants, healthcare professionals, students, activists and allies.

Posted: May 2, 2012

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