Access to health care services is an important part of being healthy. As Canadians, we are proud of our universal health care system. However, many people in Ontario do not have access to health care for a number of reasons.
One reason is that new immigrants and returning Canadians do not have OHIP coverage for their first three months in Ontario. This means that if they are sick, they cannot go to an emergency room, a walk-in clinic, or a family doctor without being left with huge medical bills. For example, newcomers cannot go to an emergency room if their child is injured, they cannot receive prenatal care from a doctor if they are pregnant, and they cannot see a nurse if they have diabetes without having to pay out of pocket.
As a result of this policy, over 80000 new immigrants who settled in Ontario last year did not have access to universal health care for their first three months.
While most newcomers come to Canada healthy, health can be unpredictable. During the three month wait, immigrants are likely to put off seeing a doctor even if they are sick, injured or pregnant because they might be afraid of paying out of pocket. This delay can worsen their health condition and require more complex and costly healthcare.
The 3 month wait applies to new family class and economic immigrants and returning Canadians, but not refugees.
About our Research Methods
This project uses applied policy research and knowledge mobilization to provide evidence-informed policy recommendations regarding the three month wait for OHIP coverage. This project aims to contribute to the larger goal of providing accessible health care for all Ontario residents. To examine the consequences of the three month wait, we are conducting:
- A scoping review, which will provide an overview of existing published and grey evidence on the health impacts of the three month wait.
- An economic scenario analysis, which will compare scenarios of health outcomes and health care service utilization for those receiving immediate health care access with those experiencing delayed health care due to the three month wait.
- Focus groups with qualitative analysis, which will explore health care experiences of permanent residents in the three month wait from the perspectives of settlement and health care service providers.
Please contact us at the email below if you would like to know more about the project and look out for our final report in June 2016. firstname.lastname@example.org
This work is being conducted by Wellesley’s 2015-2016 Junior Fellows:
Rebecca Cheff, Bob Gardner Equity Fellow • @RebeccaCheff
As a new Junior Fellow at the Wellesley Institute, Rebecca is working with community health centres to understand and strengthen their advocacy capacity. She is driven to better understand and address the roots of health inequities through action-oriented research and advocacy, in partnership with communities, service providers, and policy makers. She has experience in community engagement and partnered research related to healthy communities, LGBTQ health, and newcomer income security through her work at Access Alliance, CAMH, the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital, and the Healthier Cities & Communities Hub at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Rebecca completed her MPH in Health Promotion at the University of Toronto.
Nadha Hassen, SAMI (Social Aetiology of Mental Illness) Fellow • @nadhassen
Nadha holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto. She was a CIHR Fellow in Public Health Policy and also completed the Community Development Collaborative Program. For the last five years Nadha has worked in research at policy and community levels, including roles at Public Health Ontario, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and Africa’s Children-Africa’s Future (AC-AF). Having completed an undergraduate degree in Architectural Design and minoring in Environmental Science, she is interested in exploring the connections between the built environment and population health. She employs a health equity lens to identify populations and areas where there is a greater need for research and action.
Dhvani Katakia • @DhvaniKatakia
Dhvani is a Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Toronto, where she was also enrolled in CIHR’s Strategic Training Program in Public Health Policy. During her MPH Dhvani completed practicum placements at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Public Health Agency of Canada, working in research, policy analysis, indicator development and stakeholder engagement. Working at the University of Toronto, Dhvani has conducted research on mental health issues among Canadian immigrants. Apart from her work experiences, Dhvani has been an active volunteer in local and international settings.
Juan Camilo Sanchez • @JCSR_1
Juan holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy jointly awarded by the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and the University of York in York, United Kingdom. He has interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Costa Rica and Hungary where he developed an interest and understanding of global refugee issues. He has participated in various research projects in Canada and internationally. His main interest is the integration of refugees into the labour market and more generally in issues surrounding immigration policy.