Interim Federal Health Program Policy
Effective Date: This policy comes into effect on August 31, 2016. This policy may be amended from time to time.
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits to resettled refugees, refugee claimants, rejected refugee claimants and certain others who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.
Statement of the scope of this document
The purpose of this document is to inform IFHP beneficiaries, health-care providers and the public of the policies of the Interim Federal Health Program.
1. Purpose and scope of the IFHP
The primary purpose of this program is to provide limited, temporary coverage of health-care costs for specific groups of people, such as protected persons (including resettled refugees), refugee claimants, rejected refugee claimants and certain persons detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act during their period of ineligibility for provincial or territorial health insurance.
In addition to this primary purpose, the program helps to protect the health and safety of beneficiaries and Canadians.
IFHP coverage in Canada includes basic, supplemental and prescription drug benefits. Some beneficiaries in Canada are eligible for coverage of the immigration medical examination. All such benefits must be provided in Canada.
Starting no later than April 1, 2017, refugees destined to Canada for resettlement will also be eligible, prior to arrival, for coverage of pre-departure medical services, including immigration medical examinations and follow-up treatment of health conditions that would make an individual inadmissible to Canada under paragraph 38(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, communicable disease prevention and control (vaccinations), outbreak management and control, and medical support required during transit for safe travel.
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has discretion to provide full or partial coverage of health-care costs to an individual or group of individuals facing exceptional and compelling circumstances. The Minister may request that the Director General or Director responsible for the IFHP make this decision.
The IFHP is not intended to cover all migrants in Canada who are not covered by provincial or territorial health insurance plans or programs. It is also not intended to provide pre-departure services to all migrants coming to Canada.
The IFHP is intended to provide coverage on an interim basis.
2. Specific program terms
IFHP coverage is limited and temporary. While basic coverage is similar to health-care coverage provided by provincial and territorial health insurance plans and supplemental coverage is similar to supplemental coverage provided to social assistance recipients in provinces and territories, the benefits are not exactly the same. Benefits reflect the temporary nature of the program and may vary based on the province or territory of residence.
The IFHP is a payer of last resort, meaning that it provides benefits to those who lack public health insurance and comprehensive private health insurance. The IFHP does not cover the cost of health-care services and products where a claim can be made under a public or private insurance plan or program for those products and services.
The IFHP does not cover Canadian citizens and foreign nationals not specified in the eligible groups.
The IFHP does not cover people who are eligible under any provincial or territorial health insurance plan or program, with one exception:
- Coverage of supplemental and prescription drug benefits continues for the following beneficiaries being resettled in Canada:
- For resettled refugees who are or were receiving governmental resettlement assistance in the form of income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) or its equivalent in Quebec, coverage continues for as long as the beneficiary receives income support through RAP or its equivalent in Quebec or for the duration of their sponsorship, up to a maximum of 24 months.
- For all other resettled refugees (e.g. privately sponsored refugees), coverage continues for the duration of their sponsorship.
- For certain people who are being resettled in Canada as a result of a public policy or humanitarian and compassionate considerations on the Minister’s own initiative, and who receive income support through the RAP or its equivalent in Quebec, coverage continues for as long as the beneficiary receives income support through RAP or its equivalent in Quebec, up to a maximum of 12 months.
Governmental resettlement assistance means monthly income support received under the RAP of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or under its equivalent in Quebec.
Immigration medical examination means a medical examination requested under paragraph 16(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and has the meaning assigned to the term “medical examination” in section 29 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Income support means recurring financial payments to individuals to enable them to meet their basic needs, including, but not limited to, food and shelter.
Ineligible refugee claimant means a person whose claim for refugee protection was determined ineligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
Protected person has the same meaning as in subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Refugee claimant means a person whose claim for refugee protection is eligible to be referred to the IRB and who is awaiting a final determination of that claim by that Board, including a person whose right to judicial review of that determination, or appeal of that judicial review, has not been exhausted. This definition does not include a person whose refugee claim was determined to be abandoned, re-determined ineligible or withdrawn.
Rejected refugee claimant means a person
- whose claim for refugee protection has been finally rejected by the IRB and whose right to judicial review, or any appeal of that judicial review, in respect of that claim has been exhausted; or
- whose claim is deemed to be rejected under subsections 105(3), 108(3) or 109(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Resettled refugee means a person who is a member of the Convention refugees abroad class, the country of asylum class, or the protected temporary residents class (as defined in Part 8, Division 1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations).
Victims of human trafficking means individuals who have been issued a Temporary Resident Permit under section 24(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
4. Coverage and benefits
The benefits are limited to health-care services and products described under Summary of Coverage and included in the IFHP Benefit Grids:
Eligibility, including when eligibility ends, is described under Determine your Eligibility.
6. Termination of coverage
Coverage duration is described in detail under Determine your Eligibility.
Coverage ends when:
- a beneficiary becomes eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance,
- a beneficiary leaves Canada,
- an individual’s refugee claim is
- determined to be abandoned by the IRB, or
- re-determined ineligible and the individual is not eligible to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA),
- a person detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is released from detention and is not eligible for coverage as part of any other eligible group, or
- a victim of human trafficking’s temporary resident permit, issued under subsection 24(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, expires.
List of acronyms
- Interim Federal Health Program
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
- Pre-removal Risk Assessment
- Resettlement Assistance Program
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