This project will explore health care utilization and access to care for immigrants and refugees over a ten-year period after arrival.
Over 100,000 immigrants arrive in Ontario every year. In 2015 over 300,000 newcomers came to Canada with 37.3 percent settling in Ontario. Immigrants to Canada tend to arrive healthier than people who are Canadian-born, but overtime their health deteriorates; this has been termed the “healthy immigrant effect.”
Migration, housing, unemployment, social isolation and other social determinants of health all influence the health of immigrants and refugees. When people get ill primary care is often the first point of contact with the health care system and ensuring immigrants and refugees have regular access to quality primary care can support health promotion and disease prevention.
In Ontario only 78 percent of recent immigrants report having a family doctor or other primary care provider compared to 88.1 percent of Canadian-born individuals. Barriers to accessing primary care and preventative care may lead to illnesses that require acute care and result in avoidable hospitalizations that are costly to the health care system.
We are interested in learning more about differences in health care usage between different immigrant classes and between different countries of origin to help understand which groups may need more targeted supports to facilitate their use of the health care system. Within immigrant admission classes (economic, family class, government-assisted refugees, privately-sponsored refugees and landed in Canada refugees) there are significant demographic and socioeconomic differences that can influence health access and outcomes. Economic class immigrants, for example, are more likely to be highly educated, refugees arrive at younger ages compared to other immigrants, and family class immigrants are more likely to be women.
This study will use health care and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada data compiled by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) to investigate how immigrants and refugees access primary care and how health care utilization changes over time. We will explore how immigrants and refugees use the health care system over time, and how this usage varies by immigrant class and region of origin. This work may inform policy and program planning by identifying gaps in primary care access and continuity of care for newcomer populations. It will include:
A quantitative analysis of primary care utilization, continuity of care, hospitalizations and cancer screenings during the first ten years in Canada by immigrant class and region of origin.
A policy brief of key findings developed in consultation with experts that identifies implications for health policy planning and program development.
For more information about this project please contact Anjana Aery at firstname.lastname@example.org