First Call urges BC Health Minister to ensure MSP Enrollment for Infants

Photo Credit: Free stock from Stock Snap user Janko Ferlic

Photo Credit: Free stock from Stock Snap user Janko Ferlic

In a letter of October 12, 2016, First Call raised concerns with BC health minister Terry Lake about the barriers to the enrolment of Canadian-born children in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) if their parents have precarious immigration status.

First Call is hearing from families whose Canadian-born children have been denied enrollment because the parents did not qualify for MSP coverage. Others fear making an application to enroll their Canadian-born child because they are undocumented and fear being reported to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

First Call is urging the government to direct the Medical Services Commission to waive proof of identity and residency for parents of Canadian-born infants who have precarious immigration status.  In addition, they are calling for the commission to adopt and publicize a policy of non-collaboration with the CBSA, in order to remove the fear in parents with precarious immigration status who want to enroll their babies in MSP.

First Call have set up an online petition encouraging the government to take steps to ensure that all BC babies can receive health care.  Click here to find more information and to sign the petition

The BC Health Coalition, in partnership with Sanctuary Health, is running a letter-writing campaign to provide access to healthcare for the Canadian-born infants.  The following report is taken from their campaign webpage:

Legally, if a baby is born in Canada, they are entitled to health coverage. This spring, Health Minister Terry Lake confirmed this, saying that "if a baby is born in Canada, they are a Canadian citizen and immediately eligible for MSP." In practice, however, this isn't the case.

In B.C., applying for MSP coverage for infants requires at least one parent to provide their MSP number and residence information. This requirement creates an instant roadblock if the applying parent has restricted or no access to MSP due to precarious immigration status. In addition, parents may be concerned that if they provide residence information they will risk deportation by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Prior to 2012, an infant’s application was not tied to their parents’ MSP coverage, so parents with precarious immigration status could register their Canadian-born dependents just like everybody else.

Unlike B.C., health care providers in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba report that they continue to provide health insurance to babies in these situations.

Canadian children are legally entitled to remain in Canada indefinitely and receive health care on a non-discriminatory basis.

News & UpdatesMonica Gault