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With omnibus Bill C-43, Conservative government going after most vulnerable yet again

Toronto — After being stopped by the Federal Court from depriving refugee claimants and other non-permanent residents access to health care, the Conservative government is going after them once again by limiting their access to health care and social assistance.

In their proposed omnibus budget bill, C-43 sections 172 and 173, the Conservatives allow the provinces to deny social assistance to refugee claimants and others who lack permanent residency status.

For that reason, the Council of Canadians has joined over 160 organizations in an open letter to Finance Minister Joe Oliver today to oppose the stripping of refugee and non-permanent residents' rights.

“This move would make life miserable for refugees, vulnerable non-citizens, and those with precarious immigration status,” says Michael Butler, Health Care Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “The Conservative government is needlessly spiteful to those who are the most marginalized and affected by poverty, those who need assistance the most. We are far from the Canadian principle of universal accessibility to social programs.”

Two months ago, a Conservative private member's bill, C-585, proposed similar changes, which were rolled into C-43.

The Council of Canadians will join the coalition of organizations who will be delivering the letter to Joe Oliver’s constituency office at 11:00 a.m. with Health for All and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.

For more information on the Council of Canadians' opposition, read our blog.