(Montréal, October 5, 2017) Amnesty International (Québec) and Doctors of the World are launching a joint petition to request health coverage by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec for all Canadian children living in the province.
Not all Canadian children living in Quebec have access to free and universal healthcare as dictated by the Canada Health Act. Children born in Canada, and therefore Canadian citizens, but whose parents have precarious immigration status, do not receive medical coverage from Quebec’s health plan, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. This exclusion is based on an interpretation that we consider erroneous of the Quebec health insurance act, amended in 2001. It also goes against the international commitments made by Quebec and Canada to give all children in this country access to healthcare.
The situation is harmful to these children since it increases their health risks and can interfere in their development. It can also put the public’s health at risk since it does little to encourage preventive care. This can become costly since it costs more to treat an illness than it does to prevent it.
Since 2011, Doctors of the World has been operating a clinic in Montreal for uninsured migrants with precarious status. Volunteer nurses and doctors provide care as well as other services to these Canadian children who cannot receive medical treatment through the Quebec healthcare system without paying large sums of money. Unfortunately, the clinic cannot meet the constant needs, and changes in policies and practices are needed.
That’s why, as part of its Brave campaign to support human rights advocates in Canada and around the world, Amnesty International (Québec) has chosen to support Doctors of the World’s efforts on this issue.
A joint petition (available in French only) calls on the Quebec Government to ensure that all Canadian children living in Quebec are automatically covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec regardless of their parents’ migration status.
Doctors of the World
514-268-8730 / 514-281-8998 ext. 238
Amnesty International Canada (Francophone)
514 268-4983 / 514 766-9766 ext. 230