Saturday 15 December 2012
There are many difficult questions Canadians must ask themselves right now. What is Canada's role in forcing global migration? Where does Canada's wealth come from? What kind of society do we wish to live in-one where people suffer and die needlessly because some politicians wanted to score a few cheap political points? Please stay in touch as we move with momentum into 2013 and continue to build the strength of our communities to practice an ethic of solidarity and demand health justice for all people!
Our friends from www.wearejose.com also attended and spoke, including Jose Figueroa and his son Jose Ivan Figueroa who is developing into a very talented young speaker! Please make sure to check out their important and very touching campaign.
This was part of a coordinated national Day of Action and we will be sharing media coverage of events in other cities once it is available.
"Cards for Kenney" video on Youtube.
Wednesday 12 December 2012
This week the Health Council of Canada released a report called Empathy, dignity, and respect: Creating cultural safety for Aboriginal people in urban health care. The report has received some press coverage because it addresses the fact that indigenous people in Canada face very serious barriers to medical care, sometimes including explicitly racist treatment by medical staff. Sanctuary Health encourages all healthcare workers to become champions of transformative change in the medical system by challenging and resisting racism in any form. It is impossible to be neutral-we either oppose racism in our medical system or participate in sustaining it. Indifference and injustice have the same relationship as oxygen and fire. Let's take a stand for health justice and participate in positively shaping the cultures of our workplaces. As we begin to listen to the voices of refugees, migrants and indigenous communities, and as we begin to find our own voices, we begin to find the power to change our world!
Wednesday 7 November 2012
Friday 2 November 2012
|photo courtesy of Eugene Kung|
|photo courtesy of Eugene Kung|
Friday 19 October 2012
Health Care is a Right for Everyone
A Refugee is any person who is forced to leave their home country for life-saving reasons. Canada is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 UN Protocol on the Status of Refugees and has in the past been a global leader in the provision of respectful treatment of those seeking refuge – this is changing quickly.
The recent drastic changes to the Interim Federal Health Program now deny approximately 95% of refugees in Canada all access to primary and preventative health care as well as the supplemental health care that is provided for many low-income Canadians. The Conservative government has promoted the cuts as only removing health care “extras” – but prenatal care, medicine, lab testing and the other affected services are vital elements of good healthcare.
Most refugees can now only access medical care in cases of life-threatening emergency. Refugees who are from “Designated Countries of Origin” (DCO) cannot even access these limited emergency-only services. A DCO is anywhere that Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, says is a ‘safe’ place – as we all know, no country can be safe for every person.
The only health services that all refugees are now technically entitled to are in cases of ‘public health concern’ (someone with a highly infectious disease) or ‘public security concern’ (someone with a psychotic condition that the state or a doctor considers dangerous to the public). This policy basically says that refugee medical care should only be provided to protect “us” from “them”, pitting people who have citizenship in Canada against those who have less secure status in this country.
These cuts will leave many people sick and injured without proper care, overloading the already overcrowded emergency rooms and forcing the provinces to pick up the bill. Ultimately this creates a kind of medical apartheid, where some people are “worth” health care while people who are actually among those most in need are abandoned.
The situation is also dire for migrant workers. Workers brought to Canada under programs like the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program are forced to purchase private insurance which is often not honoured when they need to use it at clinics and hospitals. These workers are vulnerable because they have no permanent status in Canada. They are often exposed to dangerous and unhealthy working and living conditions. Sometimes they get sick or injured on the job, and employers may attempt to have them deported because this is cheaper than reporting to Worksafe/WCB.
These changes are happening at a time when all immigrants (even those who have permanent residency or citizenship), refugees and undocumented people in Canada are facing policies of increased scrutiny and widespread threats of deportation. Health-care providers and community groups across the country are organizing to support refugees, migrants and undocumented people’s health care needs, despite the Federal Government’s cruel actions.
We believe in health care for all, provided as a human right regardless of where you are from or how much money you have!
Where: Meet near First United Church at Hastings and Gore, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories
When: 6:00pm Thursday November 1
Wednesday 25 July 2012
Sanctuary Health will be holding a candlelight vigil in respect of
migrants and refugees who can no longer access health care in Canada as a
result of the recent Interim Federal Health Care Cuts that were
implemented on July 1, 2012.
Please join us to demonstrate to the Harper Government that these health care cuts are not representative of Canadian values and that we will not be silent while members of our communities cannot access basic health care.
Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Place: St. Paul's Hospital- Burrard St. side- exact location to be announced.
Monday 16 July 2012
We believe access to healthcare is a fundamental right for all people including refugees and migrants. We recognize that Canadian communities have been built from a history of immigration and we cannot privilege certain migrant groups over others. We support and respect diversity, oppose discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, or country of origin.
Migrant rights is an issue of justice. Forced migration is the result of interlocking social, political, and economic factors, such as war and severe unemployment, and we recognize Canada’s role in both upholding and challenging these factors. We therefore support the full inclusion of migrants into Canada and just relationships between Canada and the international community. Our definition of migrants includes refugees, refugee claimants, migrant workers, and undocumented people residing in Canada, and landed immigrants.
We believe that health care must continue to be publicly provided. Our public health care system must be expanded to provide comprehensive care and improve the health of everyone in Canada, both newcomers and native-born. Funding for health care (and other social services) is essential to health and thriving communities and must take precedence. Although the federal Conservative government claims the IFHP changes will lead to cost savings of $20 million per year, these cuts will only increase health care costs as care is diverted from primary care preventive settings to acute emergency care and hospital treatment.
- We advocate for full access to health care for all refugee and migrant communities, actively opposing Bill C-31 and the cuts to IFHP.
- We monitor and raise awareness of the impacts of the IFHP cuts.
- We identify available services within the health system and disseminate these resources to refugee and migrant communities.
- We promote the creation of safe spaces for migrants within the health system and aim to remove all systemic and cultural barriers to health services in our communities.
- We work in solidarity with migrants and migrant groups in challenging systemic oppression, particularly those that create barriers to accessing health services.