Mr. Speaker, insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, in response to (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e), the interim federal health program, IFHP, is a federally funded discretionary program, under the authority of the order-in-council respecting the interim federal health program, 2012. The current reform of the IFHP was part of the economic action plan, budget 2012, and was under budget secrecy; therefore, no consultation took place with provincial and territorial governments or medical and health care associations prior to the policy decision being made. The health branch within CIC is composed of health care professionals with various backgrounds, including doctors and nurses. CIC’s health branch has the necessary expertise and is responsible for the management of the immigration medical examination worldwide as well as the interim federal health program. The changes to the IFHP were announced publicly in April 2012, before the policy came into effect on June 30, 2012. A news release announcing the reforms to the IFHP was posted on the CIC website and distributed to media in April 2012. All provincial and territorial governments, major medical and health care associations, other stakeholders and recipients of IFH at the time, were directly informed of the changes around the same time, in advance of them coming into effect. Over the last several years, CIC has received a significant amount of correspondence from Canadians who have asked that asylum seekers and protected persons no longer receive taxpayer funded benefits that are more generous than those received by the Canadian taxpayers who fund those benefits.
In response to (f), the documents developed and presented to the minister before the policy decision was taken are under cabinet confidence and will not be tabled in Parliament.
Regarding (g), the response is the provincial governments of Ontario and Québec.
In response to (h), the federal government has been monitoring the levels of health care services and products that are provided by medical professionals through the IFHP. The IFHP is not a service provider. It is not responsible for access to and delivery of health care products or services. Like any health insurance plan, it provides coverage for certain services and products.
If provinces and territories or health care professionals intend to study health outcomes associated with the changes to the IFHP, they are welcome to share those results with the department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. CIC is always interested in looking at studies related to the health of refugees and refugee claimants, as long as the methodology is sound and the results are evidence-based.