Today’s article in the Globe and Mail series on Canadian healthcare highlights how a gap in fees among provinces has lead to reduced access to care for Quebec patients in other provinces. While certainly this speaks to a lack of portability of Medicare, a perhaps greater concern is the population in Canada of individuals with no medical insurance at all. In Ontario and two other provinces, permanent, landed immigrants must wait three months before becoming eligible for provincial health insurance plans, and often wait far longer to actually receive health cards. In February 2010 the Wellesley partnered with Women’s College Hospital, York University, and Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at UofT in convening a conference on healthcare for the undocumented and uninsured, showcasing innovative research on vulnerable groups who are denied access to care.
The Globe article raises questions about provincial disparities; we need to follow the lead of other provinces and eliminate the inequitable waiting period that leaves new immigrants without care.