Alexander Criticizes Ontario’s Restoration of Refugees’ Healthcare

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, recently criticized the Ontario government over its decision to revive health care insurance for refugees that was previously withdrawn by the federal government 19 months ago. Making very strongly worded comments on Wednesday, he called the decision “scandalous and irresponsible.” In an announcement made on Jan. 1, The Ontario Liberal government revived health care insurance for all refugees and became the sixth province to do so.

Addressing a press conference at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, Alexander stated that “what Ontario’s initiative is proposing is to give Ontario health insurance, the huge benefits of that program, even some that go beyond what normal Ontarians receive, to bogus refugee claimants.” He mentioned that “that is, in our view, scandalous, irresponsible, a bad practice because it will, once again, attract people to try to game the system.”

In a statement made on Jan. 9, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews stated that the province will bill the federal government for the cost of providing refugees with said health care. Later in an interview on Wednesday, Canadian Council for Refugees Executive Director, Janet Dench, mentioned that she was shocked by Alexander’s comments that called the Ontario government’s decision “scandalous and irresponsible.” She alleged that “I’m very shocked that he would be using such language, which is very inflammatory,” and added that “it’s very disappointing to see them continue to use the term ‘bogus,’ which has been very damaging towards refugees in Canada.”

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