Wednesday 26 May 2021

Open Letter Regarding Health Care for Migrants who have Maintained Status (Previously Known as “Implied Status”)

UPDATE: On April 29, 2022, the BC Ministry of Health has updated their policy for individuals with "Maintained Status" previously known as "Implied Status.' People with Maintained Status will no longer have live with the uncertainty of depending on temporary "COVID-19" coverage. Unlike the COVID-19 policies which arbitrarily set cut-off dates (for example, excluding people whose initial permit expired prior to December 1 2020), the new policy applies for everyone who has Maintained Status. You can read the Ministry of Health's information bulletin here.

Click here to download the letter

We call on the BC Ministry of Health to fully provide MSP coverage to workers and students with Maintained Status.

People with Maintained Status are workers and students who have applied for new work or study permits before the expiry of their previous work or study permits and are legally entitled to live and work or study in Canada.[1] This was previously known as “Implied Status.” In a program delivery update, Immigration and Refugee Citizenship Canada replaced “implied” with “maintained” to clarify that “clients who have applied to extend their status benefit from an extension of their period of authorized stay by law.”[2] People with Maintained Status are clearly defined as residents under the Canada Health Act.[3]

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Ministry of Health created Temporary Policies to provide MSP coverage to some migrant workers and students with Maintained Status, if they requested it. However, as of April 30th 2021, the BC government has decided to cut off many workers and students with Maintained Status by excluding people whose initial permit expired prior to December 1 2020.

Prior to July 1st 2017, the Ministry of Health provided nine months of healthcare coverage to individuals with what was then called “Implied Status.” However, on July 1st 2017, they decided to cut this coverage.[4] In its place, the Ministry of Health invented a new vocabulary that is not present in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations: the policy indicates that individuals may be reimbursed for medical expenses if they provide a new valid work or study permit, if the new permit is issued within 9 months of the expiry of the initial permit, if there is no lapse in the individual’s immigration status and ONLY if they request it. They referred to people in this category—and nobody else—as people who have “maintained status.” Immigration and Refugee Citizenship Canada’s program delivery update has now clarified that this is incorrect language and ALL people who have applied to extend their status should be considered to have “Maintained Status.”

The government has now cut health coverage to migrants twice during the pandemic: in July 2020 and April 2021. This is unacceptable and infuriating. We demand that the government reverse this cut and expand coverage for all so that we can have a truly universal health care system.



BC Health Coalition, BCGEU, BC Employment Standards' Coalition, BC Federation of Labour, Community Action Initiative, DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society, The Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University, Hospital Employees' Union, Living in Community, Migrante BC, Migrant Workers’ Centre, Pivot Legal Society, Sanctuary Health Vancouver, Society for Children and Youth of BC, SWAN Vancouver, UFCW1518, Vancouver and District Labour Council, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR), West Coast LEAF, Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice 
Worker Solidarity Network            

Worker Solidarity Network    BC Poverty Reduction Coalition

[1] Pursuant to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, s 183(5), 186(u), and 189

[3] The Canada Health Act defines “resident” as:  in relation to a province, a person lawfully entitled to be or to remain in Canada who makes his home and is ordinarily present in the province, but does not include a tourist, a transient or a visitor to the province;

[4] From a document acquired by FOI request.