Thursday 30 July 2020

Press Release -- Migrants Protest Removal of MSP Outside Adrian Dix’s Office

July 30th, 2020

Press Release -- Migrants Protest Removal of MSP Outside Adrian Dix’s Office

VANCOUVER BC -- Waving signs, wearing masks, and standing six feet apart, migrants and supporters protested outside Adrian Dix’s constituency office against the government’s decision to remove their health care coverage.

Pressure from communities standing up for their rights and resisting senseless health cuts has already had an impact; the night before the protest, Sanctuary Health received a phone call from the Minister of Health’s office saying that they had partially reversed a decision and would now extend MSP for people with implied status until October 2020.

“We have to protest to get the government to do the bare minimum,” says Omar Chu, a member of the Sanctuary Health collective. “We’re already constantly challenged with the government’s denial of health coverage to people based on immigration status. It’s unconscionable that in the middle of a pandemic, they are adding to that list.”

The following policies will still be removed on July 31st 2020 despite consistent warnings to the Minister of Health’s office and the Ministry of Health about the devastating effect this will have:
  • The waiver of the three month wait period. Sanctuary Health has opposed the three month wait period since long before the pandemic. Since the borders have largely closed, the three month wait period will now largely target people coming to Canada in emergency situations, Canadian-born babies whose parents are ineligible for MSP and people already in Canada who recently became eligible for MSP due to successful immigration applications.
  • MSP coverage for temporary foreign workers in BC with a permit of less than 6 months who would otherwise not be eligible for coverage under MSP. We are already seeing the devastating impact that temporary foreign worker programs--which grant extraordinary power to employers--have on workers and their health.
Health care workers were also in attendance at the rally representing over 100 health care workers who have signed a letter to Minister Dix and Dr. Henry calling for access to health care services to ALL people in BC regardless of eligibility for Medical Services Plan (MSP) or immigration status.

“The evidence is clear that the best public health policy is to ensure universal access to all essential health services,” says Natalie Blair, a registered nurse and signatory of the letter. “I’m angry and confused that the government would be moving in the opposite direction in the middle of a pandemic.”

Sanctuary Health is a grassroots community group that deploys a wide range of strategies to advocate for access to services for all regardless of immigration status or documentation.