:::::: REPORT-BACK AND CALL TO ACTION :::::::
With your colleagues or your neighbours, come join the campaign and visit http://collectifjusticesante-campagne.tumblr.com !
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/290211204409945/
Under the theme ‘’We refuse to cooperate’’, the Health Justice Collective is calling on health care providers across the country to continue to organize and affirm their intention to not comply with the cuts imposed by the federal government to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), which came into effect as of June 30th.
We also encourage everyone opposed to the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program and to the “Refugee Exclusion Act” (also known as Bill C-31, and “officially” known as Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act) to post your photo with a sign expressing your opposition to these measures.
Earlier today in Montreal, we set up a “collective expression booth” in the Cote-des-Neiges neighborhood. Dozens of people from the neighborhood, as well as physicians, nurses, psychologists, students and community activists took part in the action by being photographed holding a sign expressing their commitment to not comply with the IFHP cuts and their opposition to the refugee Exclusion Act. Their pictures can be found at : http://collectifjusticesante-campagne.tumblr.com.
We are determined to reject these inhumane and draconian cuts that threaten the health and dignity of migrant communities who are already marginalized. An unprecedented mobilization took place in the lead-up to the national day of action to oppose the IFHP cuts on June 18, including the involvement of over a dozen cities. This is a call for the ON-GOING mobilization of health care providers and of the population in general, in order to reject these cuts.
:::: HOW TO PARTICIPATE ::::
You can add your voice to this campaign by uploading your photo at: http://collectifjusticesante-campagne.tumblr.com
For healthcare providers, we encourage you to take your photos with signs that clearly convey that you will continue to provide care to migrants, despite the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program. Please remember to include your name and city, as well as the type of healthcare work that you do (for example: nurse, midwife, physician, acupuncturist).
Meanwhile, we understand that for a variety of reasons, some individuals are not in a position to publicly post their photos despite being in opposition to these measures. If you find yourself in this situation, we encourage you to wear a mask, take a photo of the back of your head, or cover your face with the sign that you’ll be holding up.
:::::: BACKGROUNDER :::::::
The cuts to the IFHP are intimately linked to the recent Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, more aptly known as the Refugee Exclusion Act. They essentially deny healthcare services (including hospital services, medical services and medications) to a significant number of refugee claimants, with the exception of persons whose health issues “threaten public security or public health”. Only refugee claimants coming from certain countries will be able to access “urgent and essential” health care services.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, has stated that these cuts were introduced because of financial reasons and out of concern for “equity” with the rest of the Canadian population. Not only is this argument absurd, but it is a pretext for the introduction of ideological measures that portray migrants as intruders and threats, while completely disregarding issues of justice and human dignity. True equity would entail adequate health care for all. It is only regressive and dangerous Conservative government policies such as these that constitute a threat to public health and public security, not migrants.
The Interim Federal Health Program, already criticized for its restrictive nature, provided coverage for “essential and urgent services”, including certain essential medications and some preventative care for refugee claimants. Prior to the most recent cuts coming into effect, tens of thousands of migrants across Canada were denied health care based on their immigration status. Following the cuts imposed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it will be hundreds of thousands more who will be living in even greater precarity.
The Refugee Exclusion Act, along with the IFHP cuts, will create a system that further discriminates against refugee claimants on the basis of their nationality and will dramatically increase the number of people forced to live underground, without access to essential services. These policies mean more families will be separated and more people will be detained and deported. It is fundamental to mobilize against these inhumane and racist cuts.
::::::::::: WHO WE ARE :::::::::::
The Health Justice Collective came together in July 2012 in Montreal and is made up of activists who work in the healthcare field. We demand access to healthcare and justice for all.