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Refugee health care gets $283M boost, but some patients turned away by providers: study

Sponsor Sandra Onufryk helps Syrian refugee Riad Al Blkihi with health card paperwork in Mississauga, Ont., Jan 8, 2016. 


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Sponsor Sandra Onufryk helps Syrian refugee Riad Al Blkihi with health card paperwork in Mississauga, Ont., Jan 8, 2016. . Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

OTTAWA – Canada’s health program for refugees and asylum seekers is getting a $283 million boost over the next two years.

Immigration officials say the funding increase – contained in last week’s federal budget – is needed because more people are making refugee claims.

The number of asylum claims in Canada more than doubled over the last two years with 55,000 people making refugee claims in 2018.

READ MORE: Immigrant, refugee youth end up in ER for mental health care more than others, study says

The refugee health program provides health care coverage for claimants while their applications are being reviewed but some reports suggest there is confusion among health care providers about how the program works.

Early findings of a study being conducted by law professors at the University of Ottawa have found some refugees are being turned away by health care providers who are under the mistaken assumption they do not qualify for health coverage.

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WATCH: Diplomatic relations at risk when refugees given asylum

Diplomatic relations at risk when refugees given asylum
Diplomatic relations at risk when refugees given asylum

Lead researcher Y.Y. Brandon Chen says health practitioners aren’t fully aware that previous cuts to the program were reversed and are also often frustrated by the red tape involved in getting reimbursed for refugee health costs.