Canadian doctors speak out on the impacts of cuts to refugee healthcare

8 Nov 2012
Dr. Phil Berger, credit: GlobalTV
Dr. Phil Berger in 'Up in Arms', by GlobalTV

“What this policy’s done is reverse 50 years of Canada’s historical ethical values, of taking care of people who come from war-torn and violent situations, and providing them minimal coverage equivalent to that of the poorest people in Canada.”

- Dr. Philip Berger, head of family medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto

Doctors across Canada are working tirelessly to provide proper medical care to refugees and refugee claimants, despite recent cuts. They are also working to have adequate refugee medical coverage reinstated, having organized themselves as Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.

The campaigns and protests run by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care are called “bold, noisy interruptions for an invisible, silent population” in a Global TV video on doctors treating refugees in Toronto health clinics.

This short video provides a deeper look into the work these doctors are doing—and some of the obstacles they face. They voice many of the same concerns as the CCR about:

  • Confusion and anxiety for individuals needing care
  • Some people being left without healthcare coverage
  • Some people left without any means of paying for necessary medications

It’s inspiring to hear Dr. Berger say: “It’s part of my job description to speak out especially on behalf of people who are too terrified to speak out on their own behalf.” After all, “refugees who are successful are going to become permanent residents and citizens. The longer one lets a condition go untreated the more expensive the treatment’s going to be later on.”

Watch for a new documentary this Friday, November 9th, featuring Scarborough Community Volunteer Clinic, run by Dr. Paul Caulford: ‘Your money or your life’. It depicts the impacts of healthcare cuts on refugees and other newcomers. For more information and showtimes near you:

Please share these videos and share the voices of those who can speak out for those who can’t.