MLA adds his voice to calls to waive medical exam fees for displaced Ukrainians

Calls for Ukrainian fee relief

Kelowna Stands with Ukraine and The Bravery Foundation are getting support from Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick in a campaign to ease one burden for displaced Ukrainians.

Both organizations have been lobbying for the province to waive the fee for a mandatory medical exam for the new arrivals. Under federal entry rules, the medical exams have to be completed within 90 days of arrival in Canada and they are not currently covered by the Province of BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

In a letter addressed to Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Letnick writes that the cost of these tests can be as high as $2,000 for a family of four.

“Other provinces have chosen to support the Ukrainians fleeing this horrendous war by covering the costs of the federal medical exams,” writes Letnick. “ I am requesting that you consider welcoming and supporting our displaced Ukrainians with also covering the costs of the federal medical exams.”

Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador are already covering the costs of the exams for displaced Ukrainians living in those provinces.

Typically, people applying for work permits, or who have lived for six months in a country with a higher incidence of serious communicable diseases, have to submit the results of a medical diagnostic test before they can come to Canada.

Under Ottawa’s expedited visa process, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), that rule was changed to give people 90 days after arrival to submit their results.

Bonnie Penner of The Bravery Foundation has penned a letter to Dix.

“Displaced Ukrainians arrive in our province with usually only one suitcase, which represents all they now own. Adding onto the backs of these people, costs associated with medical exams, seems not only unfair but cruel,” she writes.

“I greatly appreciate that the BC Government has waived the usual three month waiting period for MSP so displaced Ukrainians receive immediate medical coverage. It is my belief, now that your government is aware of their plight, regarding costly medical exams, action will be taken to support our Ukrainian friends,” adds Penner.

Denys Storzhuk of Kelowna Stands With Ukraine says even more than a provincial exemption, he’d like to see the federal government waive the medical exam cost for all incoming Ukrainians.

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