Interim Federal Health Program


Eligibility Procedures – Letter from Medavie Blue Cross Jan 2016


This federal program came into effect on August 31, 2016. The program provides within Canada, limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits to resettled refugees, refugee claimants, and certain others who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance. Prior to arrival in Canada, the program provides coverage for certain pre-departure medical services to refugees coming to Canada for resettlement.

  1. List of Registered Pharmacies  (and other health care professionals) currently providing prescription drug services to eligible patients through Medavie Blue Cross
  2. The Interim Federal Health Program Policy
  3. Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligibility  will confirm your refugee patient’s eligibility to receive federally funded prescription services.
  4. To become a  Medavie Blue Cross Provider in the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

Information Handbook for Health Professionals   from Medavie Blue Cross provides detailed instructions on the Interim Federal Health Program for all health providers.

IFHP Changes Provider Bulletin

Important Information for all Interim Federal Health Program Providers Re: Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program
Effective April 1, 2016

IFHP Handbook

  1. Online tools of health information translations in multiple languages:

Medline Plus  offers health information pages, available in almost 50 languages that can been downloaded and printed off.

Health Information Translations  provides translated health information that can be provided to patients and has information regarding pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant care, among other broad topics. 

  1. App Support
  • “Health Symptoms Translator” (iPhone and Android) – helpful when gathering information from the patient, especially for OTC products and minor ailment prescribing.
  • “iHandy Translator” (iPhone) and Instant Translator (Android)– allows the pharmacist to type in sentences and convert them to the language that the patient can read for instructions.
  • “Google Translate” (iPhone and Android) translates languages and also has an audio translation option.
  1. Healthline Saskatchewan  Dial 811. Available 24 hours, translation in over 100 languages
  2. Please find comprehensive  English/Arabic medical translation  documents below.

English-Arabic medication assessment leaflet

English-Arabic medication instruction leaflet

English-Arabic prescribing consult leaflet

General Information about refugee patients coming to Canada:

Government of Canada Refugee Information Page  includes the status and number of refugees coming to each province, the locations of providers for that province, and the services available (including translation services) each has. The Government of Canada has designated the following groups are eligible for IFHP: resettled refugees, protected persons in Canada, refugee claimants, victims of human trafficking, and detainees. For more information on their coverage, please visit the Government of Canada website. Government of Canada Interim Federal Health Program 

Interim Federal Health Program for Refugees Questions and Answers

Q1. What level of medical coverage will the refugees receive?

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has designated refugees as a public policy group, and therefore eligible for Type 1 benefits under the Interim Federal Health Program.

  • In the case of refugees, both Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) would receive Type 1 benefits.

Type 1 benefits include basic coverage, supplemental coverage, and Prescription Drug Coverage.

Basic Coverage includes:

  • in-patient and outpatient hospital services;
  • services of medical doctors, registered nurses and other health-care professionals licensed in Canada, including pre and postnatal care; and
  • laboratory, diagnostic and ambulance services

Supplemental Coverage includes health-care benefits such as:

  • limited dental and vision care;
  • home care and long-term care;
  • services by allied health-care practitioners including clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech language therapists, and physiotherapists; and
  • assistive devices, medical supplies and equipment (e.g. prosthetic equipment, mobility aids, hearing aids).

Prescription Drug Coverage includes:

  • prescription medications and other products listed on provincial-territorial  public drug plan formularies

See Attached Annexes that provide Basic Coverage Grid and Supplemental Coverage Grid.

 Q2. How long will refugees be covered under the Interim Federal Health Program?

Coverage will be for up to a year, starting immediately upon arrival at point of entry.    

Once a refugee is eligible for coverage under a provincial or territorial health plan, basic health care coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program would cease.

However, the Supplemental and Prescription Drug Coverage would continue for up to one year.

Q3. Will the refugees have access to mental health services under the IFHP?

All refugees will receive Type 1 benefits which includes Supplemental Coverage.  Supplemental coverage includes psychotherapy counselling or psychology counselling in a private clinic or addiction centre, for a maximum of 10 sessions. ( See Supplemental Coverage Grid).

Q4.  How does IRCC ensure that refugees are able to access registered providers in their new communities?

Prior to settling Government Assisted Refugees, IRCC will ensure that adequate settlement support is in place, including access to a registered health care provider.  

In the case of privately sponsored refugees, sponsors themselves are responsible for determining that adequate resources are available and for sharing pertinent information with refugees.

Information is available on IRCC’s website at for both beneficiaries and providers.  In the case of health care providers, the website includes instructions on how to become registered with the Program, how to determine eligibility and how to submit a claim.

In addition, Medavie Blue Cross maintains a list of registered providers on their website at so that private sponsors, clients and others stakeholders can readily identify providers in their community.   

Q5.  How do refugees receive services under the Interim Federal Health Program once they are settled in a community?

 Refugees would seek services from a medical service provider registered with the Interim Federal Health Program. 

The registered medical service provider would then be responsible for seeking reimbursement from the claims administrator for the Program, Medavie Blue Cross. 

Refugees do not pay for such services out of pocket.

Q6. How many health care providers are currently registered under the IFHP?

Medavie Blue Cross maintains a list of registered providers on their website at so that private sponsors, clients and others stakeholders can readily identify providers in their community.

The list of providers ( is sub-divided by province and territory and is current as of October 2, 2015. 

Q7. If a health care provider is interested, how can they register with the IFHP?

Information is available on IRCC’s website at for both beneficiaries and providers.  In the case of health care providers, the website includes instructions on how to become registered with the Program, how to determine eligibility and how to submit a claim.

Interested health care providers can register by filling out a registration form and agreeing to the terms and conditions.  These registration forms and contact information on how to submit the forms can be found on the Medavie Blue Cross website at:

A copy of the registration form for health care providers has also been included for information.

Health providers are also able to verify a patient’s IFHP coverage.  This includes accessing a secure section of the provider web portal ( or by calling  Medavie Blue Cross at 1-888-614-1880 (08:30 to 16:30 in each Canadian zone) to verify a patient’s coverage.

Q8. What happens with refugees who may be staying in temporary accommodations? 

Depending on the number of refugees housed in temporary accommodations, they may receive health care services from teams of health professionals coordinated by the Public Health Agency of Canada at “mini-clinics” supported by resources from the Agency’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile.   

If there are very few numbers or if more complex health services are required, this would be accessed from providers in the community.  For example those that require hospitalization, or emergency dental services, refugees would be transported to nearby facilities.  In these cases, costs would be covered on a fee-for-service basis through the Interim Federal Health Program. 

IRCC Prescription Drug Program SK