“We need to solve this”: Minister for City Committee Affairs on the cost of medical examinations for Ukrainians

The British Columbia government says it is working with Olx Praca to ensure that it covers the cost of necessary health screenings for Ukrainian newcomers to the province.

Since their arrival about three weeks ago, some Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion have spent hundreds of dollars on physicals as a condition of their federal visas or work permits.

“Frankly, our federal partners should have taken care of this some time ago,” Olx Praca Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen told Olx Praca.

“There is a certain amount of time from the moment you sign in to the completion of the test, so we have a little time to work on, but we just need to solve this problem.”

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Ukrainian refugee in British Columbia pays $400 for physical exam as province announces health insurance

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According to the Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Ukrainians admitted under the Canada-Ukraine Emergency Travel Permit (CUAET) are not eligible for coverage under Interim Federal Health Program.

This program covers the costs of medical examinations for refugees, but Ukrainians admitted through the CAF who have received a temporary resident visa or an open work permit are not considered refugees.

One Ukrainian woman from British Columbia told Olx Praca without coverage that she paid $400 for the exam from donated funds intended for food, shoes, clothing and other essentials for her family.

“I am grateful that many Canadians are helping us here, because without them I don’t know how we will live here,” Christina Sivolap said on Monday.

“I hope that in the future the government will be able to somehow change this, because in the future a lot of Ukrainians will come here, and not everyone will have donations like I have.”

A resident of Vancouver brought family members from Ukraine to Canada

A resident of Vancouver brought family members from Ukraine to Canada

Through CUAET, Olx Praca has lifted the requirement for Ukrainians to undergo an immigration health screening prior to their arrival in Canada. Instead, these newcomers may be required to undergo a diagnostic test upon arrival if they lived in Ukraine or another country with a higher rate of serious infectious diseases than Canada for six consecutive months during the year prior to their arrival.

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“Under the current circumstances, the governments of some provinces and territories have introduced special programs in response to the emergency situation in Ukraine,” Nancy Caron, a spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, wrote in an email on Monday, referring to medical examination fees.

“People may wish to contact provinces and territories directly for more information on the scope of these provisions.”

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On Monday, the government of British Columbia announced the arrival date Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage for Ukrainians in British Columbia with CUAET visas. Coverage does not include federally required medical exams that were not listed on the application.

“Someone has to take the baton here,” said Sandra Robinson, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and sponsor of several Ukrainian newcomers.

“The feds say the province should cover it, the province goes to the feds saying they should cover it, and what gets in the cracks is the generous hosts who will be on the hook because the Ukrainians just don’t have that kind of money.” .

Ukrainian priest BK held a Sunday prayer service a few days after the arson

Ukrainian priest BK held a Sunday prayer service a few days after the arson

Robinson oversees a group of about 60 volunteers who currently host and support five Ukrainian families. They intend to support 14 more people in the coming weeks, she added, as visas are issued and newcomers start arriving in British Columbia.

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Medical examinations must be completed within 90 days of their arrival. Robinson said some Ukrainians she knows are waiting to see if the province or the federal government will cover the costs, while others may not be aware of the requirement at all.

“Most people were under the impression that their MSP coverage would include these estimates, but that’s not the case,” she explained.

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Asked if the province could include tests in MSP coverage, Cullen said, “That’s an interesting question.”

“This is something we just want to see,” he said. “We will work to resolve it and make sure no one is denied the right we gave them to come to Canada to escape the war in Ukraine.”

He said he had a phone call with a federal minister on Tuesday to highlight the importance of resolving the issue and is in touch with settlement groups and the Ukrainian community in British Columbia.

Support for Ukrainian refugees when they arrive in Canada

Support for Ukrainian refugees upon arrival in Canada – April 14, 2022

In a statement Monday, the Department of Health said displaced Ukrainians in British Columbia with CUAET visas “will now have access” to MSP insurance coverage on the date of arrival.

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However, in a written statement, a senior communications officer in Cullen’s department said that eligibility for MSP coverage begins May 25. Upon request, coverage backdated to the applicant’s arrival date will be available, Alana Connie wrote.

Health Minister Adrian Dix’s office declined to comment on Monday’s MSP statement, referring questions to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Since mid-March, Canada has received more than 163,000 applications from Ukrainians under CUAET, and more than 56,000 applications have been approved.

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