Press Release – April 2, 2020

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Press Release

April 2, 2020

Migrant workers call on BC Minister of Health to reinstate MSP coverage to temporary foreign workers with ‘implied status’

Vancouver, BC –Migrant Workers Centre has sent a position paper to The Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, outlining the need to reinstate MSP coverage to temporary foreign workers on implied status, meaning workers who have applied to extend their work permits and are waiting for a decision while maintaining their legal entitlement to live and work in Canada.

Migrant Workers Centre welcomed the news that in light of COVID-19, temporary foreign workers with implied status may be able to access MSP on a temporary basis. However, it is imperative that MSP coverage be reinstated on a permanent basis. The lack of MSP coverage for workers on implied status means that workers may be unable to access the medical care they need while working in BC, putting their own health and the health of the public at risk.

According to Tess Van Weelden, Legal Advocate at Migrant Workers Centre, “prior to July 1, 2017, migrant workers could renew their MSP coverage while on implied status. These workers are residents of BC who pay taxes, have legal authorization to work, and have followed the proper immigration procedures to extend their work permits. Denying an extension of health care coverage to these workers is not only abhorrent, it violates Canada’s Health Act. We are concerned in particular for migrant workers working in low-wage jobs in the grocery, restaurant, agriculture and home care sectors. All of these services have been deemed essential during this pandemic, but not all of the workers are able to access the medical care they need.”

Migrant Workers Centre is a non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance to migrant workers in British Columbia. MWC works to advance fair immigration policy and improved labour standards for migrant workers through legal advocacy, public legal education, and law and policy reform.

For more information, please contact Natalie Drolet at 604-445-0661 of the Migrant Workers Centre.

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