Halifax, NS (April 14, 2020) – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 200 health care workers, community members, and organizations in Nova Scotia are urging provincial officials to ensure access to healthcare for migrants who do not currently have health coverage. The open letter, addressed to Premier Stephen McNeil and Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey, was initiated by the migrant rights group No One is Illegal – Halifax/K’jipuktuk (NOII-Hfx).
Nova Scotians denied access to insured health services include undocumented residents, some temporary foreign workers, some international students and some asylum seekers.“We need COVID-19 assessment centres and related care to be explicitly accessible to all people, regardless of immigration status,” reads an excerpt from the open letter. “Beyond this, we must recognize that people experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 will seek care through community clinics and hospitals, and therefore these sites must also be free and accessible to all.” The open letter, with the full list of demands, can be viewed online here.
Ontario became the first province to announce that it would temporarily expand health insurance coverage to include all migrants in response to COVID-19. The governments of Quebec and British Columbia followed suit.
“In order to fight this pandemic we need to ensure everyone in Nova Scotia has the health care they need, regardless of migration status” said health care activist and NOII-Hfx member Chris Parsons. “We need to eliminate all barriers to people accessing care, and that’s even more important in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Health care professionals and concerned community members are encouraged to sign on to the open letter.
NOII-Hfx has also recently released a community advisory with information and resources for migrants needing support in the context of COVID-19.
NOII-Hfx calls for permanent residency status for all, including access to all public services such as health care.
Media ContactNo One is Illegal – Halifax/K’jipuktuk, NOII.Hfx@gmail.com