About refugees

General information

Refugees are individuals who have run away from their country because of well-founded fear of persecution, and are unable to return to that country.

The Refugee Resettlement and Humanitarian-Protected Persons program is intended for people outside of Canada that need protection. 

Upon arrival, a resettled refugee has a permanent resident status and has access to the RAMQ.

A refugee can also be an asylum claimant whose claim has been accepted.

PRAIDA services offered to resettled refugees in Montreal

CISSSs and CIUSSSs in 14 cities across Quebec offer health assessment programs for resettled refugees who have been sponsored by the federal government or privately (by churches, mosques, groups of citizens, community organizations, etc.). PRAIDA is designated for the Island of Montréal. Two specific services are provided under the refugee health assessment program: health assessments by a nurse and well-being assessments by a social worker.

Both these services are offered on a voluntary basis and are limited to assessment and referral to any other services needed. PRAIDA does not take these clients on permanently.

For the health assessment, a nurse assesses physical health needs, makes referrals to appropriate health services as necessary, and signs refugees up for the Quebec Family Doctor Finder waiting list.

For the well-being assessment, a social worker assesses psychosocial needs, provides information on local resources and refers people to appropriate services, as needed (CLSC, RIVO, community organizations, etc.).

Resettled Refugee Health Assessment Client Profile

There are two categories of refugees:

  • Government-sponsored (with access to welfare). They are supported by the CSAI, an agency that helps refugees get settled in their first year in Montreal.
  • Community-sponsored (not eligible for welfare and are dependent on financial assistance from their sponsors for a complete year).

People in both these categories are eligible for permanent residency and medicare (RAMQ) on arrival in Canada. The Interim Federal Health Program covers some kinds of treatment not covered by medicare (such as some dental care, eye examinations and physical therapy etc.)

Government-sponsored refugees immediately have access to social assistance on their arrival, whereas community-sponsored refugees only have access after a year. Moreover, refugees do not need a work or study permit, and have access to subsidized daycare as well as Quebec and Canada family allowance programs.

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