Of course leaders are more inclined to respond if you approve of their actions. Here is a response from Minister Deb Matthews in Ontario:
Thank you for your email regarding our government's decision to re-instate basic health services for refugee claimants. I'm encouraged by your kind words of support for our decision.
Following the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program, we urged the federal government to do the right thing and reverse its decision. Previously, I had also written previously to the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister, Health Canada, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister, Citizenship and Immigration, to express Ontario's serious concerns about their decision to significantly reduce health coverage for refugee claimants.
I expressed that the province is extremely disappointed that the federal government made this decision without any consultation with its provincial and territorial partners and that we view this move as a serious abdication of their responsibility towards some of the most vulnerable people in our society. In addition, their decision effectively downloaded federal costs onto the provincial health care system resulting in greater pressure on our health care system for Ontarians. For example, health care providers had to determine who would receive treatment based on a complex set of rules, or provide care without assurance of compensation. The complicated patchwork of coverage available to refugee claimants meant physicians were spending too much time navigating the system rather than providing care.
We were also concerned that a lack of access to health services for refugee claimants could reduce their health outcomes and lead to the over use of emergency rooms, which in turn will place a greater burden on our health care system.
That's why we introduced the Ontario Temporary Health Program (OTHP) on December 9, 2013. The OTHP took effect on January 1, 2014, and will ensure that refugee claimants have access to essential and urgent health care. Consistent with Ontario residents, refugee claimants will obtain health care coverage through the program three months after their refugee application is submitted. The three-month waiting period will be waived for:
Our government will continue to monitor the impact that the federal government's changes to the Interim Federal Health Program have on Ontario's health care system and will bill the federal government for the OTHP program annually. Again, thank you for taking the time to write and share your support.
Deb Matthews Minister