• Women & Politics

Your Voice Counts: Issues Affecting Women New to Canada

This past spring, Women & Politics surveyed women from across London, Ontario to hear what issues were important to them for the upcoming Federal election. Four themes emerged:

  1. Missing and murdered Indigenous women

  2. Affordable housing

  3. Issues affecting women new to Canada

  4. Getting more women elected and proportional representation

Women & Politics held a public event with experts to discuss each topic at the beginning of June to help women learn more about these issues. You can find a summary of the event here. Our next step was to learn where candidates stand on these issues. Women & Politics is currently conducting an online survey with all of the candidates of each riding in London, asking them pertinent questions that relate to each area. We will provide their responses on our website in the next few weeks.

To further explore each topic, Women & Politics is also dedicating a blog post on each topic. This blog post will focus on Issues Affecting Women New to Canada. This topic will be broken down into two areas: access to healthcare and Bill C24. The online survey to candidates asked questions pertaining to these two areas.

 Access to adequate healthcare as a newcomer

In Canada, the type of resident that you are determines your level of access to healthcare. This is especially true for newcomers. If you came as a permanent resident, you have access to the same health care as all Canadian citizens. If you arrive to Canada as a refugee, you receive the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). In 2012, the Federal government, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reduced the healthcare services to which refugees would have access to. In 2014, the Federal Court of Canada found these cuts not only “cruel and unusual” but also unconstitutional. The Conservative government is appealing this decision but this will not be heard until after the election.

 Further reading: http://www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca/the-issue.html

Newcomers who are not refugees still face significant challenges in receiving optimal health care such as language barriers, racial discrimination, increased social isolation, eligibility issues, and a lack of understanding of the Canadian health care system. These layered challenges are often especially true for women newcomers who are often, at first, more isolated and less integrated to their new Canadian communities.

The next government can help newcomers receive better access to health care by offering better supports and helping them navigate the system more easily.

 Further reading: http://www.kidsnewtocanada.ca/care/barriers

Bill C24 – Strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act

In June 2015, the Conservative government instated new legislation that effectively creates a two-tier citizenship system in Canada. This new legislation allows the Canadian government to revoke Canadian citizenship to dual citizens who have been convicted of terrorism, spying offences or high treason. A dual citizen is anyone who is eligible to receive citizenship from another country from Canada, even if they were born in Canada. For example, a Canadian whose mother was born in Britain, may not have applied for dual citizenship but is eligible for dual citizenship, can have their Canadian citizenship revoked, if convicted of terrorism, spying offences or high treason.

Further reading: https://bccla.org/2015/06/nine-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-changes-to-canadian-citizenship/#3

We have asked candidates who are campaigning in the London area the following questions related to this topic:

  1. Newcomers to Canada experience high levels ofsocial isolation and often have multiple barriers in receiving optimal health care. If elected, how will you and your party address these challenges?

  2. Please comment on Bill C24, the legislation that gives the Canadian government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship and also makes it more difficult to become Canadian.

Please stay tuned to read each of their responses.

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