In June 2012, the Federal government made substantial cuts to healthcare insurance provided to refugee claimants under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).

The Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care (CDRC), the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) and Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) filed an application for judicial review of these cuts, along with two individual applicants.

On July 4, 2014, Justice Mactavish of the Federal Court found a breach of two Charter provisions: s. 12 (cruel and unusual treatment, especially as it pertains to children) and s. 15 (different treatment based on Designated Countries of Origin category); and gave the government 4 months to comply with her order.

In late September 2014, the government appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal and made a Motion for a Stay of the decision pending the outcome.

Last week, on October 30, 2014, a hearing took place in Toronto on the Motion. The following day, Justice Webb dismissed the stay.

Result: The federal government must make changes to comply with the Charter in its provision of refugee healthcare coverage by November 5, 2014.

JFCY is pleased that in both decision, the courts have recognized the unique vulnerability of refugee children.

More information about the proceedings can be found in our Cases & Decisions section.