Myths about Immigrants and Refugees in Relation to the Canadian Healthcare System

In 2012, Canada admitted 257,887 immigrants – a little more than the average number of immigrants that came for the past 10 years. The high numbers of immigrant intake contributes to Canada’s reputation as a country of demographic openness and multicultural tolerance.

However, when immigrants arrive in Canada, they are often surprised by the hostility, prejudice and discrimination they encounter – especially when they try to find jobs that match their qualifications and skills. Discrimination at the job market, lack of “Canadian experience”, obstacles in recognition of foreign credentials, long hours of exhausting low-paid survival jobs, frustration, insecurity, low income, insufficiency of adequate housing and healthy food keep the level of stress high and affect newcomers’ health.

 Since Canada relies to a high extent on immigrants’ contribution, timely and proper health care for immigrants and refugees is consistent with the country’s national interest. This media review is to be used for a campaign that asserts immigrants’ right of public health services, fights discrimination and promotes positive attitude in our society towards newcomers.

To promote positive attitude towards immigrants and refugees, it is crucial to identify the negative beliefs and to examine how they are presented in the media to the Canadian audience. 

The review focuses on the two most harmful myths about immigrants and refugees in relation to the public services: the myth that the cost of immigration exceeds the benefits, and the myth that refugees receive more social assistance than Canadian seniors.