Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

January 27, 2011 09:51 ET

Minister Kenney Addresses Pharmacy Services in Quebec and the Interim Federal Health Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2011) - Pharmacists in Quebec are being urged to continue serving refugee claimants, victims of human trafficking, those in Canada under the Haitian special measures, and others who are eligible for the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today.

"I am personally committed to do everything in my power to ensure pharmacies across Canada receive timely reimbursements. We're prepared to work with pharmacists to address individual cases and to continue a dialogue with the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP)," said Minister Kenney. "However, in the interim, we need to ensure that refugees get important medications, such as insulin, chemotherapy drugs, and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis. Anything less than this will compromise the health of vulnerable immigrants in Quebec, as well as the public at large."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been working with Medavie Blue Cross to address the calls by the AQPP for pharmacists to refuse to fill our prescriptions for vulnerable immigrants covered under the IFHP. Despite the AQPP's calls, we continue to encourage individual pharmacists in Quebec who have registered with the IFHP to submit claims for reimbursement directly to Medavie. Thousands of health-care providers from across the country have already registered with Medavie, including nearly 300 pharmacists in Quebec.

"I understand that many pharmacists in Quebec had issues with reimbursements under the IFHP. That's why we demanded stronger service standards when the government selected Medavie Blue Cross after a competitive process," said Minister Kenney. "It is true that, in some cases, reimbursement took many months. However, we have modernized the process. As a result, we expect reimbursements to be paid within two to three weeks."

Last year, the AQPP identified a number of outstanding claims to CIC that were subsequently investigated. In some cases, the IFHP did, in fact, reimburse the claim, but in the majority of them, the claim was not eligible for reimbursement, mostly because the product or service provided was not covered by the IFHP.

The IFHP provides health-care coverage for specific groups of vulnerable immigrants not otherwise covered by provincial/territorial or privately-funded health insurance plans and who do not have the means to pay, including refugee claimants, victims of human trafficking, and those temporarily in Canada under the Haitian special measures. Through the IFHP, beneficiaries seek out a participating health professional, who later submits a claim for reimbursement to Medavie Blue Cross.

For more on the IFHP, please visit the CIC website.

Notice to Pharmacists in Quebec

Notice for IFHP Certificate holders in Quebec

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Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Alykhan Velshi
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations