2.C Settlement and Integration
C.5 How are physical, mental, and dental health treated?
(v) Are there healthcare providers who share the refugees’ language background and/or who have experience assisting refugees?
How Canada Does It
Some local settlement agencies exist across Canada that, often through local partnerships, offer refugees clinical counselling as well as community and wellness programs alongside other settlement services to refugees. A database of healthcare providers that are registered with the Interim Federal Health Program is also available, which can be used to identify providers who work with refugees.
Translation and interpretation supports for accessing health services are often also available in communities where refugees have resettled through municipal, provincial, or territorial programming.
The Welcome Syrian Refugees Initiative prompted the creation of special refugee clinics in some localities. In Ottawa, refugees were referred to new “Refugee Hub Clinics” that provide longer-term healthcare for refugees awaiting permanent housing. The need for professional interpreters to translate medical terminology and bear witness to refugees’ experiences also became apparent with the arrival of Syrian refugees in Canada.
Some hospitals – e.g. the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) – developed a Newcomer Navigator role. This role provides a resource to reduce barriers to care by educating families and staff about culturally appropriate health and social services, leveraging hospital and community supports, developing a pool of interpreters, in addition to providing direct support to these vulnerable families.