British Columbia is one of only three provinces that deny three months of health coverage to people arriving or returning from outside of Canada. This waiting period denies access to timely care, resulting in long-term health consequences and increased system costs. Migrants, including pregnant women, temporary foreign workers, children, and infants, are the among the most negatively impacted by this policy.
The wait period policy is not legislation, and it is within the power of the Medical Services Commission to remove it. the Medicare Protection Act and the Canada Health Act both allow for a three month wait period for people arriving from outside of Canada, but do not mandate it. Therefore, the wait period could be removed, without a change in legislation, to better align with the spirit of the Canada Health Act.
We call on the Medical Services Commission to eliminate the waiting period immediately and to ensure access to care upon arrival.