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Ministry Status: Routine Monitoring and Engagement

Emergency Management

Syrian refugees

All health care providers who are able to offer their services to refugees can call the
Refugee HealthLine (1-866-286-4770)
to add their name, practice, location, service and the number of prospective patients/clients they are able to accommodate.
See the Refugee HealthLine Fact Sheet for more information.

With the conclusion of the arrivals of the initial 25,000 Syrian refugees, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (ministry) Emergency Operations Centre has been deactivated.

While the volume and pace of refugee arrivals in Ontario have decreased, refugees (including Syrian refugees) will continue to arrive in the country in higher numbers than in previous years. In addition, Syrian refugees who have already resettled in the province will require ongoing and long-term health care support.

The ministry will continue to work with health system partners to meet the health needs of Syrian refugees within regular business processes. It is the responsibility of all Ontario health care providers to meet the needs of our new residents.

Phase 2 Ontario Health System Action Plan: Syrian Refugees

This plan provides guidance on the roles and responsibilities of health care providers and general refugee health care considerations to meet the ongoing needs of Syrian refugees in Ontario.

Fact Sheets for Health Care Providers

Fact Sheet for Refugees

The Health Care Options in Ontario Fact Sheet describes health care options in Ontario. The ministry encourages providers to share this fact sheet with Syrian refugees.

The fact sheet is available in:

Additional Resources

Further Information about Syrian Refugees

Questions and Answers

What is the health status of Syrian refugees?

Refugees typically face greater settlement and integration challenges than other newcomers. Many refugees have experienced prolonged periods in refugee camps, trauma, violence, and limited access to health care and education. As part of the immigration process, refugees undergo an immigration medical exam (IME) at their point of departure, are assessed by Quarantine Officers at an airport upon arrival in Canada and will require medical assessment and ongoing care once they have settled into temporary and final accommodations.

Overall, Syrian refugees coming from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are experiencing health concerns as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria and difficult living conditions in countries of asylum both inside and outside of refugee camps. Oral health, mental health and chronic disease concerns have emerged as the most predominant health needs. The ministry has no indication of any significant risk of infectious diseases.

What type of health services support may be required by Syrian refugees?

Health care services that refugees may potentially need access to include:

  • primary health care and specialist care (e.g. maternity care, pediatrics, women's health, reproductive health services)
  • dental health services
  • psychosocial support, counselling and mental health services
  • chronic disease management (e.g. cardiac, respiratory, diabetes)
  • access to pharmaceutical medications
  • immunization and communicable disease prevention
  • acute care/hospital services

What else is important to know about refugees and their health needs?

Some refugees have experienced or witnessed extreme events, causing emotional and psychological suffering affecting refugees and their families. Refugees may not report their personal or family distress, or the distress may only gradually be disclosed sometime after the settlement process is complete. The IME aims to identify health problems, diseases, physical disabilities, mental illness, trauma, dental and vision needs. Because it is a single health assessment at a specific point in time, medical conditions may arise between the time of the IME and arrival of the refugee in Canada. A heightened awareness from a health care provider in Ontario, balanced with respect for a refugee's need for personal privacy, may help with identifying any concerns early.

For More Information

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Emergency Management Branch
1075 Bay Street, Suite 810
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 2B1
Fax : 416-212-4466
TTY : 1-800-387-5559
E-mail : emergencymanagement.moh@ontario.ca


Healthcare Provider Hotline
Toll free : 1-866-212-2272

CritiCall Ontario provides a 24 hour call centre for hospitals to contact on-call specialists; arrange for appropriate hospital bed access and facilitate urgent triage for patients