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Canada violated human rights of undocumented irregular migrant: UN

The flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Adam Rountree/AP via CP

OTTAWA — The federal government is reviewing a decision of the UN Human Rights Committee that says Canada violated the rights of an undocumented irregular migrant by denying her essential health care.

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As part of its non-binding ruling, the UN committee says Canada has an onus to compensate Nell Toussaint for the harm she suffered.

The committee further says the Canadian government should review its national legislation to ensure that all irregular migrants have access to essential health care.

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Toussaint came to Canada as a visitor from Grenada in 1999 but stayed in the country after finding a job, despite not having permission to work in Canada.

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In 2009, Toussaint applied to the Interim Federal Health Program, which covers certain medical services for refugees or those seeking refugee status in Canada.

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Because her refugee claim was not active at the time and she was living as an undocumented migrant in Canada, she was denied access to the program.

In its ruling, the UN Human Rights committee found that under the optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even illegal aliens have an inherent right to life.