Migrants score victory with health coverage for children of non-status parents
Migrants without status who have children born in Canada have less weight to carry in terms of health spending for their children.
This, following pronouncement from Health Minister Sarah Hoffman that health insurance have been extended to children of migrants born in the province as of January 2016.
The statement had to be pried from the minister during a question-and-answer portion at the legislative session on April 3, courtesy of Edmonton-Ellerslie MLA Rod Loyola, a known staunch migrant rights advocate.
Hoffman added that the information will be available in different languages, along with translation services.
The issue of non-coverage of Canadian children born to non-status parents became the centerpiece of a campaign dubbed McKenna Rose Law led by Migrante Alberta. The group launched the campaign on the eve of the International Human Rights Day in December, 2016.
“Migrante Alberta would like to acknowledge the amendments to the policy and efforts to have the information available in various languages,” said Dhon Mojica, Migrante chair.
“But most importantly, Migrante Alberta would like to ensure that the correct and updated information is being disseminated and is accessible when needed,” he added.
In June 2016, Migrante Alberta inquired about health coverage of Canadian children born to non-status migrants with the Ministry of Health. In its response, the ministry stated, “Canadian Children born to a Non-Resident parent is not eligible for Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) Coverage as the children takes on the status of the parent. If the parent’s status changes with a new work permit the child may be added to her AHCIP Account.”
“Now we are wondering where the breakdown of communication between the government agencies was,” said Mojica. The group noted that while the changes were made effective January 2016, the province’s main health delivery arm Alberta Health Services (AHS) appeared to be unaware.
Mojica said that in the spirit of fairness, AHS should pay back non-status parents who had paid for health services for their children. “These parents lost their status because of unfair labor policies, such as the now defunct 4 and 4 rule. They were once, tax payers and still are. Nonetheless, their status should not dictate what services their children are entitled to as Canadians,” said Mojica.
Migrante’s campaign was named after McKenna Rose, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl born in Alberta in September 2015 who took on the status of her mother “Lynn” (not her real name) who was without status when she gave birth. According to Lynn, the $5,000 charges they owe to the hospital was billed under McKenna’s name the second she was born.
The issue of non-coverage for these children came as a surprise to several lawmakers who were not aware such policy existed. The lawmakers had since supported the campaign.
Migrante Alberta stressed that the policy ran counter to the 1985 Citizenship Act which guarantees birthright for children born in Canada, as well as the Canada Charter of Rights of Freedoms by the Province.#
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