The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) was introduced in June 1957 to provide temporary health, vision and dental insurance to all refugee claimants and resettled refugees, up until the time they were either accepted as refugees and were eligible for provincial health care, or if not accepted, until they had exhausted their legal options to remain in Canada. Refugee claimants have received some type of interim federal health insurance coverage since 1957. The health coverage was similar to coverage received by Canadians on certain social assistance programs like the Ontario Disability Support Program.
The program remained unchanged from 1957 until April 2012, when the federal government issued an Order in Council to drastically cut benefits to refugee claimants. The changes were made without advance notice and without consultations. The cuts came into effect on June 30, 2012.
The changes to the IFHP are important for several reasons: