Refugee Health Matters: Why Canadian Docs Are Swapping Stethoscopes For Megaphones

In June 2012, the Canadian Federal Government cut coverage to basic health services for many refugees via the Interim Federal Health Program (IFH). This includes removing coverage that existed for decades for sick children, pregnant women, and cancer patients. Since then, hundreds of Doctors, Nurses, and other health care professionals at all levels of training have spoken out against the cuts. On June 16, 2014, health care workers of all backgrounds and walks of life will be uniting for the National Day of Action. Here’s why they’re speaking out for refugees and why they’re so darn good at raising awareness!

1. These professionals recognize the universal right to health

Jesse McLaren / Via

They refuse to deny care to those who need it most!

2. Doctors, Nurses and other Health Care Professionals (HCPs) see advocacy and activism as a part of their job

For example, doctors look to the CanMEDS framework that says all physicians need to be health advocates—which means that they’re “using their expertise and influence to advance the health and well-being of individual patients, communities, and populations

By speaking out against the federal cuts, docs and HCPs are responding to the health needs of the people they serve,

3. They know what they’re fighting for based on their experiences

Women’s College Hospital / Via

Doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals who witness the impacts of IFH cuts on their patients are moved to speak out against unjust policies

the campaign isn’t organized by those removed from the realities of refugee health care

5. Docs and HCPs are making their opposition an evidence-based decision

In light of Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) cuts, docs have been documenting cases of patients who have been denied care and their poor outcomes.

Most recently, a study out of Sick Kids presented compelling evidence that denying care leads to more costly hospitalizations

This year, docs and health care professionals are ready to publicly oppose federal cuts because there’s good reason to!

Tings Chak & No One Is Illegal / Via Facebook: NoOneIsIllegalNetwork

7. HCPs of all backgrounds are joining forces to raise awareness

AOHC; Richard Lautens / Via websites and

By engaging not only physicians but all professionals serving refugees, these advocates have a larger and stronger voice against the IFH cuts

8. So while physician protests might seem like this

9. Doctors are actually pretty good at raising awareness

Vince Talotta / Via

Previous National Days of Action had coverage from many major Canadian news outlets

10. …sparking political debate


Cuts to refugee care led to heated debate between physicians, federal officials and provincial ministers

11. … and they have the potential to effect CHANGE

Docs and HCPs are not backing down and will continue speaking out until the cuts are reversed.

12. And while SOME people think advocates are “militant leftists”

More info on the baseless claim here

13. They’re just care providers (and providers to be), of ALL political backgrounds, that want good health outcomes for their patients

Matthew Sherwood; Vince Talotta / Via Links and

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