Ukrainian refugees in B.C. can apply for immediate medical coverage

Ukrainian refugees coming to B.C. after fleeing the ongoing Russian invasion can now receive medical coverage the moment they arrive in the province.

The provincial government has announced displaced Ukrainians who arrive in B.C. with federal emergency visas can now apply for access to Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage that will begin the day they arrive in the province.

“The Ukrainians arriving in B.C. are beginning a new chapter of their lives as they settle in Canada and will need proper health supports,” B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix said in a written statement on the government’s website.

“By giving individuals arriving in B.C. from Ukraine day-of-arrival MSP coverage, we’re doing what we can for one of the most important aspects of their journey: health and safety.”

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Refugees arriving from Ukraine must have visas issued under the federal Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) to be eligible for MSP coverage. The program was introduced by Ottawa to fast track visa applications for Ukrainians to temporarily live and work in Canada. Ukrainians can apply for a three-year Temporary Resident Visa or Open Work Permit.

Applicants must also make their new home in B.C. and be physically in the province for at least six months a year. Those without permanent addresses can use those of a community member, program, or centre helping them with their resettlement.

Applications can be made online.

There is no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply for CUAET or MSP coverage.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress applauds the MSP coverage.

“While actively working on assessing and supporting the most essential needs of displaced people from Ukraine arriving in British Columbia, our community support groups indicate that many of those who choose our province as a safe temporary home – mothers with children, students, elderly people – need to see physicians and medical specialists, to access prescription drugs, and to receive mental health counseling,” wrote Natalie Jatskevich, president of the groups’ BC Provincial Council.

Of the five million Ukrainians who have fled the war, those who have chosen to shelter in B.C. are still arriving. It’s still unclear how many Ukrainians may arrive, but refugee aid group MOSAIC says it has received offers from over 100 individuals who have been willing to open up their homes to refugees.

MOSAIC has a “donate now” page that offers options for those who would like to help.

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