Saskatchewan to pick up refugee claimant's cancer treatment costs after feds leave him without coverage

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

Credits: REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber


REGINA - A refugee claimant in Saskatchewan with cancer will have his treatment paid for by the province after federal program changes left him without coverage.

"It's unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said Thursday.

Shortly after the man arrived from Pakistan, he was diagnosed with cancer. After starting treatment, he was told he would have to pay his own bills.

The NDP pointed out a charity was actually picking up the costs, but Wall said: "We are just going to make sure these things are covered and deal with the 'who pays' later."

This spring, Ottawa announced changes to the federal health program that limited drug, dental and vision coverage for refugee claimants with the hope of deterring bogus refugee claims and ensuring failed asylum seekers couldn't take advantage of Canada's free health care.

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