Interim Federal Health Program

Care for Syrian Refugees

doctorHealth care coverage for Syrian refugees 

All Syrian refugees (both Government Assisted and Privately Sponsored) who have arrived in Canada since November 4, 2015 have full Interim Federal Health (IFH) coverage (Type 1) for the first 12 months after arrival. They are also entitled to provincial health insurance upon arrival in Ontario, Quebec and many other provinces, as well as to provincial public medication coverage. For Syrian refugees, the IFH covers:

  • All medical, diagnostic and hospital services. IFH coverage is virtually identical to provincial health insurance.
  • All prescription medications. IFH covers all the medications on the provincial public pharmacare list (or medications for people on social assistance). The IFH also covers some additional medications, including antiprotozoal and antiparasitic medications, many vitamins and minerals, etc.
  • Many ‘supplemental’ services.  More specifically:

dental check upDental care

  • Without preauthorization: Emergency exam, emergency extractions, emergency medications; X-rays
  • With preauthorization: Fillings (in some cases); anesthesia

Vision care

  • Vision exam (1/12m)
  • Glasses

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy

  • In a hospital: no preauthorization required; up to 12 sessions (physio) or 20 (occupational or speech therapy)
  • In a clinic: preauthorization required


  • On referral by a doctor; preauthorization required
  • 10 sessions – may be renewed repeatedly with doctor’s referral
  • Only covered for licensed clinical psychologists
  • Interpreter services are reimbursed (max. $28.95/h) for psychotherapy and psychiatric services

glassesHome care

  • with preauthorization

Institutional long-term care

  • with preauthorization

Prosthetics and orthotics, mobility devices, assistive devices, etc.

  • For details on IFH coverage see Medavie benefit grids.
  • To be reimbursed, the health professional or clinic must first register with Medavie Blue Cross as an IFH provider. This can be done online, but may take some time to be approved, so register asap.
  • For details on how to register see Guides, specifically ‘Information Handbook for Healthcare Professionals (Nov. 5, 2014)  and other guides.
  • Requests for preauthorization and billing can be done online through the Medavie Blue Cross secure provider portal.