Latest Update from IRCC – Interim Federal Health Program – Information for individuals

On April 1, the Interim Federal Health Program was restored to pre-2012 levels of coverage for all beneficiaries. Here is some important information about this change and what it means for you.

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits for specific groups of people in Canada who do not have provincial, territorial, or private health-care coverage.

The coverage is paid for by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Determine your eligibility

See who is eligible for health coverage under IFHP and how long coverage lasts.

Apply for IFHP coverage

Find out how to apply for IFHP coverage.

Get health care services and products

Know what you need to do when you seek treatment as an IFHP beneficiary.

Latest Update from IRCC – Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program

Important Information for Eligible Beneficiaries

Ottawa, April 11, 2016— On April 1, the Interim Federal Health Program was restored to pre-2012 levels of coverage for all beneficiaries. Here is some important information about this change and what it means for you.

Health-Care Coverage Changed Automatically

  • As of April 1, 2016, all individuals eligible for coverage under the IFHP will now receive full health-care coverage, which includes:
    • basic health-care services (i.e. standard physician and hospital care),
    • supplemental services, including limited vision and urgent dental care, and
    • prescription drug coverage.
  • The change in coverage is not retroactive. Services or products provided to you by health-care providers prior to April 1 will be paid based on the level of coverage you had at the time.
  • If you had coverage on April 1, your coverage has been updated automatically in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Medavie Blue Cross systems. Health-care providers have been advised of the change in coverage (PDF, 554 KB) and will be able to provide services to you.
  • You do not need to apply for a new certificate. You will still be able to present your current IFHP eligibility document to health-care providers when you are seeking their services.
  • Starting April 10, when new IFHP certificates are issued, they will not have a coverage type listed on them.
  • If you are a resettled refugee, you will continue to receive coverage for supplemental services and prescription drug coverage for the time you are receiving government assistance or private support. In most cases, this assistance ends one year after arrival. There is no change to your basic coverage under the IFHP. It ends as soon as you are covered under the health plan of your province or territory where you live.

Expiration Dates Eliminated for Refugee Claimants

  • As of April 10, 2016, the 12-month expiry date on coverage for refugee claimants will be eliminated. This means that if you have been found eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) as a refugee claimant and or if your claim has been found ineligible to be referred to the IRB but you are eligible to apply for a pre-removal risk assessment, you will no longer need to apply to extend your coverage every 12 months.
  • If you had IFHP coverage on April 1, it will be extended automatically in the IRCC and Medavie Blue Cross systems. You do not need to apply for a new certificate – You will still be able to present your IFHP eligibility document to health-care professionals when you are seeking services, even after the expiry date shown on the document has passed.
  • IFHP coverage for refugee claimants will continue until you become eligible for provincial/territorial health insurance or you leave Canada. Your coverage will also be cancelled immediately:
    • if you withdraw your refugee claim, or
    • if the IRB has determined that you have abandoned your refugee claim, or
    • your refugee claim has been re-determined as ineligible to be referred to the IRB and you are not eligible to apply for a PRRA.
  • Registered IFHP providers have been advised to use the information box at the bottom of your eligibility document when they validate your eligibility with Medavie Blue Cross.
  • If your coverage expired before April 1 but you are still eligible for coverage, you must submit a renewal application to your local IRCC office and a new IFHP certificate will be sent to you.
  • Starting April 10, when new IFHP certificates are issued, they will not have an expiration date listed on them.

Please visit Health care – Refugees for more information on the program.

Date Modified: 2016-04-11

Latest Update from IRCC to Sponsoring Groups on Impending Arrivals of Syrian PSRs

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases the following message to all sponsoring groups with regards to Syrian PSRs that will arrive in Canada shortly:

  • Syrian PSRs currently in inventory overseas will arrive in Canada through Toronto or Montreal, starting shortly. Sponsoring groups should therefore prepare themselves to start receiving the refugees they have sponsored, since these arrivals are about to start.
  • As per usual practice, sponsoring groups will be given advance notice of these arrivals; However, due to the need to move this group of arrivals quickly, the usual NAT service standard of 10 working days may not be possible.
  • Refugees will not receive pre-departure orientation (COA).
  • The cost for transportation and the medical examination overseas will be covered by IRCC for any Syrian PSR (or GAR/BVOR) arriving after November 4 as part of the Government’s commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016.
  • Arriving refugees will be given winter clothing and those requiring onward connecting flights or ground transportation to their final destination will be transported to a hotel in Toronto or Montreal for overnight stay. If final destination is Toronto or Montreal or close environs, we will notify the sponsor of where they should meet their clients.
  • SIN and IFH will be issued upon arrival at the airport in Canada.

Modified Administrative Procedures for Syrian & Iraqi Refugee Applications

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has temporarily modified administrative procedures for all sponsoring groups for SYRIAN AND IRAQI REFUGEE APPLICATIONS ONLY.

These procedures are in place at the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg (CPO-W) as well as Canadian visa offices overseas. They are also applicable to Add Dependent and One Year Window applications for Syrian and Iraqi nationals.

The following changes are in effect for Syrian and Iraqi refugee applications only:

  • Versions of Forms: CPO-W will accept all versions of IRCC-issued forms
  • Photographs of refugee applicants: CPO-W will accept unsuitable, undated photographs, or applications without photographs. Visa Office may request new photographs.
  • Signatures: Scanned signatures will be accepted for both sponsoring group and refugee applicant forms. Missing signatures will be collected by CPO-W for sponsors’ forms, or the Visa Office for refugee applicants’ forms.
  • Missing or inadequate information: CPO-W will contact sponsors by telephone or email to perfect application. Legible scans and digital photographs will be acceptable means for providing missing information.

To note: applications will be held at CPO-W until required information is provided. Sponsors will be given 60 days to provide missing information, with a 30 day extension period.

For Syrian refugee applications only, the prima facie designation reduces the burden of proof required to demonstrate that a Syrian’s individual personal circumstances meet the definition of a convention refugee.  While standard application forms and supporting documents continue to be required, information regarding the specific basis of claim may be less detailed and less comprehensive in the responses given the prima facie designation.  However, background information on the individual’s personal history and family information remains helpful  to visa offices overseas to efficiently process cases and should be provided where available. Visa officers overseas are focusing their interviews with refugee applicants on security, criminality and medical screening.

In addition, application packages for sponsoring Syrian and Iraqi refugees can be fully scanned and submitted via email to CPO-W. Please ensure the barcode on each form is legible.

Please contact RSTP if you have any questions about these procedural changes for Syrian and Iraqi sponsorship applications.

Guidelines on Sponsorship of Refugees out of Turkey

September 2015 – This guidance has been developed to assist private sponsors in identifying cases for resettlement from Turkey. It is intended to increase the likelihood of the refugees being granted exit clearance by the Government of Turkey, and to ensure that applicants are ready to travel to Canada as soon as possible once a positive decision has been made on their application for resettlement.

While the Government of Canada cannot guarantee that exit permission will be granted by the Government of Turkey, ensuring that sponsored refugees have formally registered with the Turkish authorities will significantly increase the chances of the refugees being authorized to exit the country. Failing to consider this criterion can lead to sponsored refugees approved by CIC not receiving the necessary exit permits from the Government of Turkey for resettlement to Canada.

In order to increase the chances of being granted exit permission from Turkey, sponsored refugees should be registered with local Turkish authorities as demonstrated by having a valid one of the following documents:

  • Residence permit (Ikamet) in the form of an Ikamet Izni or Ikamet Tezkeresi;
  • Temporary residence document such as visa or work permit (does not include electronic visas);
  • Yabanci Tanitma Belgesi (Foreigner ID Document) or Yabanci Tanitim Karti (Foreigner ID Card);
  • Sığınma başvuru sahibi tanıtım kartı (Foreigner Registration Card);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Başvuru Sahibi Kimlik Belgesi (Identification Card for International Protection Applicant);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Başvuru Sahibi Kayit Belgesi (Registration Card for International Protection Status Holder);
  • Uluslararası Koruma Statüsü Sahibi Kimlik Belgesi (Identification Card for International Protection Status Holder); or
  • Gecici Koruma Kimlit Belgesi (Temporary Protection ID).

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact us.

Refugees from Syria & Iraq: Changes to documentation needed for Groups of Five & Community Sponsors

September 19, 2015 – As of September 19, the Canadian Government announced it has temporarily exempt Syrians and Iraqis from the requirement to provide proof of refugee status in order to be sponsored by a Group of Five or Community Sponsor. Therefore, if you want to sponsor a Syrian or Iraqi refugee through a Group of Five or Community Sponsor, you can submit these applications, even if these refugee applicants do not have a refugee status recognition document. Please note that refugees must still be living outside of their country of origin.

For more information about Group of Five sponsorship, please visit the Self-Assessment Tool for Groups of Five or contact us.

For more information about Community Sponsorship, please visit our Community Sponsors page or contact us.

Forms for Sponsoring Groups and the Refugee Applicant(s) are available at Refugee Sponsorship Application Forms

Please note that we are currently receiving an exceptionally high number of inquiries, and may not be able to respond immediately.

Changes to Community Sponsors program

As of May 2015, Community Sponsoring groups are no longer limited to submitting 2 refugee sponsorship cases a year. They can submit as many as their financial and settlement capacity allows them. For more information about Community Sponsor sponsorships, visit:

Refugee sponsorship forms updated May 13

On May 13th, 2015 CIC posted updated versions of the following forms online:

  • IMM5373A Settlement Plan & Financial Assessment form for Groups of Five
  • IMM5373B Financial Profile form (Groups of Five)
  • IMM 5437 Document Checklist
  • IMM5373 Undertaking/Application to Sponsor
  • IMM5413 Sponsorship Application Guide

The grace period for submitting older version of these forms is 60 days (unitl July 13, 2015). All forms can be accessed at:

In addition, please note the following changes:

  • The Add Dependent form is being phased out. This form was used when there was an addition to the family unit such as a birth of a new baby or a marriage. Instead, the updated IMM5373 Sponsorship Undertaking form now includes a check box on page 1 to identify additional dependant requests. It is still the responsibility of the refugee applicant or their sponsors to notify the visa office of any changes to the family configuration by submitting the Undertaking with any supporting documents to CPO-W as soon as possible. As with the other forms, a 60-day grace period, expiring on July 13th, 2015 has been granted.
  • One Year Window (OYW): the IMM0008 Generic Application Form must now be submitted to CPO-W together with the OYW request within 1 year of the PA’s arrival (landing) in Canada. Once received by CPO-W, the visa office will be deemed to have received the OYW request on the same day as received by CPO-W. A new form (IMM5571) and updated guide (IMM5578) will be available on CIC website on/after May 25, 2015

Change in requirement of photos

There is no longer a need for the refugee applicant to provide 6 photos, as indicated in the IMM6000 document checklist. CPO-W now requires only one photograph (per person) to be provided with the PSR application.