Updated Jan. 14, 2016

What's Up in Family Medicine

Welcoming Syrian Refugees to Canada

Canada has opened its doors to welcome Syrian refugees. Family physician leadership will be key to ensuring the following primary care needs of these refugees and their children are met.
  • Updating vaccinations and Well Child Care
  • Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic disease identification and management
  • Childhood illness including respiratory infections and asthma
  • Routine, age appropriate screening (such as PAP)
  • Obstetrical care for pregnant women
  • Mental health support and where necessary referral to address war-related trauma
NEW - Registering with the Ontario Refugee Health Line:
Health care providers are needed to provide transitional care and services to refugees arriving to Ontario, including initial assessment(s), care and/or referral(s) to other health services. To add your name, practice details and the number of patients you can accommodate to the list of over 230 providers please call the Ministry of Health’s Refugee Health Line at 1-866-286-4770.

You can also volunteer to deliver services for new arrivals from Syria through the Interim Federal Health Program. Health providers working or planning to work with refugees are encouraged to register. A registration form is available on the Medavie Blue Cross website. It needs to be printed out and faxed, emailed or mailed to Medavie Blue Cross (details are on the form). Medavie Blue Cross maintains a list of registered providers, which makes it easier for private sponsors and refugees themselves to find a local provider. The registry also includes names of some specialists. The refugees will also be eligible for OHIP upon arrival.

Additional Resources:

Over the coming weeks more details should become available about health-care provisions within communities, including access to translation. The LHINs are playing a role in coordinating the local response. There are also specialty refugee clinics in Toronto and Ottawa. Many Community Health Centres across the province are well equipped to serve refugees and newcomers. The OCFP website will be updated as information and resources become available.

Click here to see a list of relevant resources to support you in your practice.
Canada has a long history of welcoming refugees with over 24,000 refugees arriving annually in recent years. In fact, Canada is a leader in refugee care and resettlement. We hope that the above resources will be helpful as you join your community and Canadians in welcoming the new arrivals and thank you in advance for your time and commitment in making sure their health needs are met.

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