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.
- Dental Coverage for Syrian Refugees
- Health Care Services Contact Information for Health Care Providers
- Refugee HealthLine : Request for Health Care Providers to Provide Transitional Care for Refugees
- Syrian Refugee Early Assessment Considerations for Primary Care Providers
- This document is intended to support primary care providers in their early assessments and care of Syrian refugees of all ages.
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:
- Access Alliance: Multicultural Health and Community Services
- Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario
- CAMH New Beginnings Clinic
- CAMH Refugee Mental Health Project
- CAMH Working with Interpreters in Mental Health Clinical Settings
- Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CCIRH)
- Canadian Medical Association Journal: Refugee Health
- Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration and Settlement (CERIS)
- Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
- The College of Family Physicians of Canada, Refugee Health Care: Resources to Assist Family Physicians
- Distress and Crisis Ontario
- International Metropolis Project
- Language Interpreter Services
- MCIS Language Solutions
- Medavie Blue Cross provider website
- Ontario College of Family Physicians: Refugee Resettlement
Further Information about Syrian Refugees
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Welcome Refugees
- Interim Federal Health Program
- Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade
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.