As of April 29, temporary foreign workers with implied status may now have their health care coverage extended for a period of six (6) months in Quebec.
Some foreign workers whose permits are expiring and cannot be renewed due to delays in processing applications, as a result of the special measures put in place by federal immigration authorities (IRCC) will be able to benefit from continued access to the Régie de l’assurances maladie du Quebec (RAMQ).
RAMQ (the Quebec health insurance board) officials confirmed the decision in a letter forwarded to the Quebec section of the Canadian Bar Association last week.
Temporary foreign worker (TFWs) who have applied to have their permits extended but whose permit expires before a decision is made by Canada’s immigration authorities, can remain in Canada under implied status.
However, in Quebec province, to have implied status does not give a temporary foreign worker a right of access to the RAMQ and means, among other thing, that they would not be entitled to reimbursement of hospital cost.
In recent weeks, many organizations, humanitarian aid movements and immigration attorneys have called on governments to act, highlighting the lack of health care coverage and precarious immigration status of TFWs. Many foreign workers find themselves in a vulnerable situation because their application are on hold due to processing delays affecting all strata of government since special measures were put in place to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
From now on, all temporary workers with valid implied status in Quebec will be able to benefit from a six-month extension of the health care coverage provided by the RAMQ.
However, the renewal will not be done automatically and Temporary foreign workers are expected to contact the RAMQ themselves and request an “extension forms.” Once they obtain the form, they must complete, sign and mail it back to the RAMQ along with a copy of the previous work permits as well as a letter from the IRCC confirming receipt of the present work permit extension request. Applicants are not required to present their identity photos at this time.
Following these step, applicants will be mailed new RAMQ cards which will be valid for six (6) months.
The health care coverage may also be extended to accompanying family members.
This support measures concerns people who earlier had access to the RAMQ, according to information reported by Radio-Canada.
Those without a health insurance card, who may be affected by COVID-19, still have access to free health care following a decision made by Quebec at the end of March.