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PRAIDA referral process for asylum seekers (for professionals)

Every new client must present themselves at PRAIDA’s office. No assessment can be done by phone.

If you are a member of the health and social services system, you can refer your asylum seeker clients for psychosocial follow-up by faxing an interagency service request (DSIE) to 514-286-5733.

PRAIDA referral process for resettled refugees in Montreal

Physical and wellbeing assessments are done by appointments only, exclusively for resettled refugees in Montreal (refer to our FAQ below for designated CISSS and CIUSSS in other Quebec regions). Note that for emergencies, referral must be done to the appropriate resources (hospitals, etc…)

Before contacting us, we invite you to consult the FAQ section below, selected from recurring questions from our voicemail.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the status difference between a resettled refugee and an asylum seeker? Which services do they have access to?

An asylum seeker is a person who, upon arrival in the country or during a temporary stay, asks for protection from Canada. The canadian government offers asylum to certain people on its territory who are afraid of persecution, or whose lives would be in danger if  they are to return to their country of origin.  The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC) evaluates each case to determine if an individual is eligible to make a refugee claim. 

Resettled refugees are individuals who have run away from their country because of well-founded fear of persecution, and who are consequently 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, resettled refugees have permanent resident status and have access to the RAMQ. A refugee can also be an asylum claimant whose claim has been accepted.

Below is a comparative table of available services according to their status :

Resettled refugee

Asylum seeker

Permanent resident

Refugee status claimant


+ Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage – Supplemental coverage (max 1 year)


No work/study permit required

Work permit required

Post-secondary study permit required

Access to subsidised daycare

No access to subsidised daycare


Social assistance:

  • If government -sponsored, immediate access,
  • If privately-sponsored, access after a year

Legal aid

Social assistance

Legal aid

Family allowances (Canada and Qc)

No access to family allowances

  1. What is the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) and how does billing work?

In Canada, the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits for the following specific groups of people in Canada who don’t have provincial, territorial, or private health-care coverage:

  • protected persons in Canada, including resettled refugees (provided for a year);
  • asylum seekers;
  • certain other groups.

This program is administered by Medavie Blue Cross, for Immigration and Citizenship Canada. It gives access to basic and emergency healthcare services, through health-care providers registered with Medavie Blue Cross (Find a IFHP provider).

Basic coverage (similar to health-care coverage from provincial or territorial health insurance plans)

  • in-patient and out-patient hospital services
  • services from medical doctors, registered nurses and other health-care professionals licensed in Canada, including pre- and post-natal care
  • laboratory, diagnostic and ambulance services

Supplemental coverage (similar to the coverage given to social assistance recipients by provincial and territorial governments)

  • limited vision and urgent dental care
  • home care and long-term care
  • services from allied health-care practitioners including clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, counselling therapists, occupational therapists, speech language therapists, physiotherapists
  • assistive devices, medical supplies and equipment, including:
  • orthopedic and prosthetic equipment
  • mobility aids
  • hearing aids
  • diabetic supplies
  • incontinence supplies
  • oxygen equipment

Prescription drug coverage (similar to the coverage provinces and territories give to social assistance recipients)

  • prescription medications and other products listed on provincial/territorial public drug plan formularies

Coverage for the Immigration Medical Exam (IME)

  • for most categories of beneficiaries, the IFHP also covers the cost of one IME and IME-related diagnostic tests required under the Immigration Refugee Protection Act

IMPORTANT : The health-care provider is directly reimbursed by Medavie Blue Cross. If the asylum claimant or refugee pays for the services himself, he/she will not be able to receive a reimbursement. For some services, treatments and prescription drugs, the provider needs to run a prior authorization with Medavie Blue Cross.

  1. Do asylum claimants have access to psychological support services?

Yes. Services provided by health professionals, namely clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, therapists offering counselling consultation, are covered by the IFHP. Medical prescription and receipts from a provider approved by Medavie Blue Cross are necessary.

  1. Are asylum seekers with expired documents eligible for Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage?

Yes. The IFHP coverage is valid from arrival (determined by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) agent, shortly after the client’s arrival in Canada), to 90 days from the date the asylum claim or PRRA is accepted, or until the removal date.

A patient’s eligibility for IFHP coverage must always be verified with Medavie Blue Cross before providing a service or product, using their identification number (8 to 10 digit number on their eligibility document), either by contacting  Medavie Blue Cross, or by logging into the  secure section of the IFHP provider web portal.

Any of these three following documents can be used as proof of eligibility for IFHP :

  • An Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview Letter—you get this letter after you make a refugee claim and you’re scheduled for an interview.
  • A Refugee Protection Claimant Document
  • An Interim Federal Health Certificate

Please Note:

• Certificates issued after April 10, 2016, will no longer include an expiry date or reference to the coverage type as all clients are eligible for full health-care coverage.

• For clients eligible for the IFHP prior to April 10, their IFHC continues to be valid until such time that IRCC issues a new certificate.

  1. Which clients can you refer to PRAIDA?

PRAIDA’s services are aimed at all asylum seekers, regardless of the stages they are in their immigration process, from their arrival in Canada, up to the decision of acceptance or removal.

To refugees resettled in Montreal, PRAIDA offers a physical assessment as well as a wellbeing assessment. Refugees resettled in other administrative regions than Montreal must be referred to one of the thirteen Integrated Centres (CISS or CIUSS) that offer assessment services in Quebec:

MIFI designated cities to welcome refugees

Mandated Integrated Centres offering physical and wellbeing assessment for refugees


CISSS du Bas-St-Laurent


CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale


CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-du Québec




CIUSSS de l’Estrie



CISSS de la Montérégie-Est


CISSS de l’Outaouais


CISSS de Laval


CISSS de Lanaudière


CISSS des Laurentides


CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre

*Please note that PRAIDA does not serve migrants with precarious or no status.

  1. Do referred clients need to take an appointment?

Asylum seekers must present themselves directly to PRAIDA’s office during opening hours, from Monday to Friday between 8h30-17h00. PRAIDA’s psychosocial intake service operates without appointment, on a “first come, first served” basis.

As for refugees resettled in Montreal, the physical and wellbeing assessment must be done by appointment only , with a referral from the organizations that sponsor or have welcomed them at their arrival (in the case of government- assisted refugees).

  1. Who can access PRAIDA’s  temporary shelter/housing service?

PRAIDA’S shelter service, offered in partnership with the YMCA, is exclusively  offered to asylum seekers who have arrived in Quebec for less than 10 days, for a duration of two weeks. In addition, asylum seekers, in order to receive the shelter service, must meet with PRAIDA’s intake team to validate if they meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Be an asylum seeker in Canada;
  • Have the IMM1442/IFHP (Interim Federal Health Program) form OR the acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview Letter from IRCC
  • Have no family or social network;
  • Unable to afford housing (see eligibility scale);
  • Come from a country where financial aid is nontransferable;
  • Have arrived in Canada for less than 10 days (with the exception of those who have been detained at the Immigration holding centre upon arrival)

Exclusion criteria :

  • Without asylum claimant status;
  • Have not started any regularization of their status;
  • With a network that can offer housing;
  • Able to support their needs including housing;
  • Arrived in Canada for more than 10 days (with the exception of those detained at the Immigration holding centers upon arrival)
  1. Do PRAIDA offer an interpretation service?

No. PRAIDA, in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, ensures the availability of interpreters for their allophone users, in order to provide quality and safe clinical interventions. To do so, it reaches out to the Banque interrégionale d’interprètes (BII), as well as Rio Network phone interpretation services. Every service of the health and social services network has the responsibility of providing and paying for interpretation services to its respective users.

Several information and tools designed for professionals serving asylum seekers and refugees are available on CERDA’s website (Centre d'expertise sur le bien-être et l'état de santé physique des réfugiés et des demandeurs d'asile), including these three  webinars carried out by professionals from PRAIDA.

For further questions, a voice mail is available to institutions or organizations that require information on immigration, the different statuses and access to services for their clients.

PRAIDA voicemail for professionals (external) : 514-484-7878 extension 64850 

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