The BC government, in conjunction with Ottawa, says it will ensure the cost of medical examinations for newcomers to the Ukrainian province.
Since their arrival nearly three weeks ago, Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion have spent hundreds of dollars on medical check-ups.
“It must have been noticed by our federal partners, apparently, some time ago,” BC Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen told Global News.
“There is a definite time from the point of entry until the end of the test, so we have some time to work, but we have to solve this.”
In Ukraine he paid $ 400 for a medical examination of a Ukrainian refugee
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Ukrainians admitted under the Canada-Ukraine Accreditation for Emergency Travel (CUAET) are ineligible to receive coverage under the Interim Federal Health Plan.
The program covers the cost of medical examinations for refugees, but Ukrainians approved by the CUAET, who have been granted temporary resident visas or open work permits, are not considered refugees.
Without coverage, a Ukrainian in BC paid $ 400 for the exam using funds donated to his family for food, shoes, clothing and other essentials.
“I’m thankful that a lot of Canadians are here to help us because I do not know how we would live here without them,” Christina Civolap said Monday.
“In the future, I hope the government can change that somehow, because in the future, a lot of Ukrainians will come here and not everyone like me will have those donations.”
The Vancouver woman is bringing family members from Ukraine to Canada
Through CUAET, Ottawa waived the need for Ukrainians to complete an immigration medical examination before arriving in Canada. Instead, newcomers who have lived in Ukraine or another country with a higher rate of infection than Canada for six consecutive months in the year prior to their arrival will be required to undergo a diagnostic test upon arrival.
“In the current context, some provincial and regional governments have special plans in response to the extraordinary situation in Ukraine,” said Nancy Karon, Canada’s spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, who addressed the medical examination fee in an email on Monday.
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“Individuals may wish to contact the provinces and territories directly for further information on the purpose of these rules.”
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On Monday, the BC government announced the Medical Services Plan (MSP), a date of arrival for Ukrainians in BC with a CUAET visa. The coverage does not include the medical examinations required by the federal government, which are not explicitly stated in the report.
Sandra Robinson, a professor at the Sadr School of Business at the University of British Columbia and a sponsor of many Ukrainian newcomers, said: “Someone has to pick up the baton here.
“The federal government says the state should cover it up, the province turns to the Fed to cover it up, and the generous hosts who fall into the cracks are because the Ukrainians will not cover it up. I do not have that kind of money. “
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Robinson oversees a team of about 60 volunteers, who currently run five Ukrainian families. They aim to support 14 more in the coming weeks, with visas being issued and new ones being issued by the end of the year.
They must complete a medical examination within 90 days of their arrival. Robinson said some of the Ukrainians he knew were waiting to see if the province or federal government would cover the cost, while others may not be aware of the need.
“Most people were under the impression that their MSP coverage would cover these ratings, which it is not,” he explained.
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Asked if the province could complete tests on MSP coverage, Cullen said, “This is an interesting question.”
“This is something we want to see done,” he said. “We will work to resolve it and ensure that no one is disqualified from the permission we have granted to Canada to flee the war in Ukraine.”
He said he had telephoned a Union minister on Tuesday to emphasize the importance of resolving the issue, and had worked with the settlement committees and the Ukrainian community to discuss the issue.
Support for Ukrainian refugees when they come to Canada
In a statement issued on Monday, the Department of Health said MSP coverage was “now accessible” to Ukrainians migrating with CUAET visas to Ukrainians displaced in BC.
However, a senior public affairs official from the Cullen Department said in a written statement that MSP coverage eligibility would start from May 25. Alana Connie wrote that backdated coverage for the applicant’s arrival date will be available upon request.
The Office of Health Minister Adrian Dix refused to comment on the MSP report on Monday, citing questions from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Since mid-March, Canada has received 163,000 applications from Ukrainians under the CUAET and more than 56,000 applications have been approved.
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