Halifax Refugee Clinic Media Release responding to Trump Executive Orders

The Halifax Refugee Clinic is very concerned about these xenophobic and anti-refugee measures and we truly hope for a decisive and compassionate Canadian response. Please read and share our media release.



Advocacy Guide for Mobilizing Against Trump’s Immigration Policy in Canada

This weekend, after Trump’s latest anti-refugee, anti-muslim, anti-immigrant Executive Order, a group of amazing feminists from all over Canada put their hearts and their minds together to craft this advocacy guide. The regressive and hateful policy has already affected the safety of thousands of people across the world and the insidious rhetoric that accompanies it is not without consequence, even here in Canada.
If you are feeling powerless, overwhelmed, dazed, enraged or heartbroken (or any combination thereof..) know that there are concrete actions that you can take to try to make a difference to the lives of refugees and others affected by Trump’s divisive politics.

Here is a link to the Advocacy Guide to read and share widely in your networks:


Please also consider a one-time or monthly donation to the Halifax Refugee Clinic so we can continue our important work!


Auction for Asylum 2016: Our 4th annual fundraiser! December 9th, 2016


The Halifax Refugee Clinic is hosting its 4th annual Auction for Asylum fundraising event! The event will be held on Friday December 9th, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and will run from 7:30PM-10:30PM. Doors open at 7:30PM.

This year Joey Latta will soothe your ears with his Spanish style guitar playing as you bid on auction items. Later on DJ Fadzwa will get you dancing with Afro House, Funk, and more!

Soft drinks, beer, red and white wine, and a specialty drink (Dark n’ Stormies!) will be available for purchase, along with complimentary savoury and sweet treats.

We will have a custom button-making station with local artists where you can commission your own wearable piece of art!

As always, lots of great items will be up for silent auction, for every taste and budget! Items include gift certificates to local restaurants and services, unique artisanal items from around the world, jewelry and much more! Items must be paid for before leaving the event. Cash and credit only.

Tickets are $20.00 ($10.00 for students/seniors/underemployed) available in advance or at the door (while supplies last!). Contact the Halifax Refugee Clinic at (902) 422-6736 or halifaxrefugeeclinic@gmail.com.

Tickets are also available online at eventbrite:


We hope to see you there!

Check out our Facebook event page of this year’s 150 + amazing items!:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1206622289423234/


**** Please note that this event is 19+. ***


Event tonight at the library! Exploring REALITIES OF REFUGE on International Human Rights Day

We hope you will join us at our special event taking place this Thursday – International Human Rights Day – at the Halifax Central Library (Paul O’Regan Hall) beginning at 6 pm.
In collaboration with the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Healthcare Network (with generous sponsorship from the law firm Wickwire Holm), we will be screening the Karen Cho documentary “Seeking Refuge”. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring special guest Peter Showler, former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, along with some clients of the Halifax Refugee Clinic.
At a time of increased worldwide awareness and national attention to issues surrounding forced migration, this event will be a great opportunity to dissect and dispel some myths about refugees and refugee claimants. Our panel will present valuable first-voice perspectives on the experience of navigating the complex and challenging refugee determination procedure in Canada.
We hope to see you there!  Refreshments will be served.JPEGRealities of refuge poster

The Halifax Refugee Clinic is having an Open House on Monday, September 28th from 4PM to 7PM!! Please join us!

There has been a lot of talk in the news of refugees and human rights abuses around the woropenhouse_poster_jpegld. Come join us at our informal Open House to meet our community, learn about our work, and see what you can do to help support and promote refugee rights here in Halifax. The event is drop in from 4PM to 7PM on Monday, September 28th. Light refreshments served.

Team Clinic is running for refugee rights in the Blue Nose on May 17th!!

We’re happy to announce that the Clinic is an official charity in the Blue Nose Marathon’s ScotiaBank Charity Challenge. We have a mighty team, the HRC Run-egades, comprised of Clinic clients, volunteers, supporters, board members and staff and are taking pledges and donations to help meet our goal of $5,000! We’re running the 5K for 5K (that’s a dollar a metre!)
We are proud to be a grassroots not-for-profit-organization which receives no core government funding. For 14 years we have prided ourselves with doing a lot with a little and are fiercely dedicated to providing the best quality legal and settlement services to some of the most persecuted and marginalized people in the world.
To sponsor a Team member, our whole Team or to donate directly to the Halifax Refugee Clinic, please follow this link:  http://my.e2rm.com/PersonalPage.aspx?registrationID=2323492&langPref=en-CA&Referrer=direct%2fnone Alternatively, you can mail a cheque or give cash to the Clinic at the address below. A charitable receipt will be issued for all contributions.If you want to join our team, the HRC Run-egades, run in the race and help us fundraise, you can register here: http://bluenosemarathon.com/registration/  and then join our team in the drop down menu.100% of the funds raised go directly to the Clinic and will help us sustain and develop our one-of-a-kind and deeply important services for refugee claimants.

Thank you and happy trails!

Julie Chamagne
Executive Director


Government backs down on Interim Federal Health Program cuts for one refugee group only-Doctors will not compromise on health coverage for all refugees


Toronto, July 3, 2012-Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is grateful that the Government has backed down on cuts to health coverage for one refugee group- Government Assisted Refugees.   Doctors expect the same coverage for all other refugee groups.

On Friday June 29th, the day before the cuts went into effect, Minister Jason Kenney stated that the Government Assisted Refugees would not be affected by the cuts to their health coverage.  The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website was changed on Friday afternoon to confirm that the government had indeed backed down on cuts for Government Assisted Refugees but for no other refugee group.

Such a reversal indicates that the government acknowledges the need for access to medications, prosthetics, emergency dental and vision services and other essential health services for refugees.  The federal government has finally agreed with health care workers, as a matter of equity, that refugees deserve the same health coverage as other low income Canadians-no more, no less.
Despite this reversal, many other refugees will still be denied access to basic health services.  Dr. Philip Berger of St. Michael’s Hospital states that “most concerning is that refugees who come from what the government deems to be ‘safe countries’, will be denied the most basic health coverage.  These refugees will be denied care for serious conditions such as heart attacks, other medical emergencies and all chronic diseases.  Pregnant refugee women and their babies will be denied care.  The government needs to rescind the IFH changes so that all refugees have access to basic health care.”
Dr. Megan Williams, from Somerset Community West Community Health Centre, stated that “the vast majority of refugees who are sponsored by church groups and other citizens will lose access to life saving medications.  Many of these refugees come from refugee camps and have endured war and other forms of violence.  Imposing these cuts is inhumane for refugees and unfair to the church groups and other citizens who have sponsored these refugees in good faith.”
Dr. Meb Rashid of Women’s College Hospital states that “the physician advocacy campaign against these cuts will continue until the government rescinds the cuts for all refugees.  Over a dozen national organizations, representing a breath of health care workers have condemned these cuts.  Health care workers have organized across the country and have developed a surveillance system to document the effects of these cuts.  We will publicize these cases so that the government, media and other Canadians know the consequences of the government’s policy.”
The government’s concession for Government Assisted Refugees is too little and too late.  Many other refugees will suffer because of the cuts that are still in place.  Doctors and other health care workers expect that the government will rescind its plan to cut health care coverage for all refugees.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Dr. Megan Williams    613-816-0850               mwilliam@swchc.on.ca
Dr. Philip Berger          416-802-1191              bergerp@smh.ca
Dr. Meb Rashid            416-315-1270               mebrashid@hotmail.com


June 18th National Day of Action against cuts to refugee health care

In April 2012, the federal government announced drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) – a Citizenship and Immigration Canada funded program that provides health coverage to refugees, refugee claimants, and others. The reductions are due to come into effect on June 30th, 2012, and in response organizations across the country are sounding the alarm. Health care workers and refugee rights advocates from Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kitchener, Windsor, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, St. John’s, and Halifax will be standing up in solidarity against the IFHP cuts on June 18th, 2012. The Halifax demonstration will be held at noon on Grand Parade Square.

Present in the growing and diverse list of organizations demanding the federal government revise or rescind the cuts are the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Canadian Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres.

Jane Moloney, Chair of the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres and Executive Director of the North End Community Health Centre declares that “cutting the IFHP is unethical, ill-informed and it raises new threats to health and healthcare for everyone residing in Canada”. For example, the cuts will deny coverage for essential medications to refugees our government resettles and welcomes into Canada. Refugees who have been resettled to Halifax have spent an average of 17 years in camps and often arrive with complex health problems and a vital need for comprehensive health coverage – coverage that must include prescription medications. Not only are these cuts irresponsible, but they are hypocritical to the core.

Dr. M. Rashid, Medical Director of the Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital, a clinic that serves newly arrived refugees in Toronto, states that “(a)lmost universally, [refugees] will not be in a position to purchase their medications. As of June 30th, most will stop taking their medications. This last week alone, I have sat with a mother in tears because she will no longer be able to purchase anti-seizure medication for her child with epilepsy. I have spoken to women with diabetes who will no longer be able to purchase their insulin.”

The Canadian Association of Community Health Centres issued a severe Medicare alert on May 15, 2012, and cautions that “(t)he fallout from the poorly-conceived policy will also place major new burdens on provincial health systems and all Canadians who, collectively, will be forced to shoulder the financial and health services impact.” Jane Moloney further explains that “(t)hese families will still arrive in our Community Health Centres, in our hospital emergency rooms, at our local public health units and other health services; except now, instead of receiving routine preventive care and support, they will be presenting with more acute, complex illnesses, requiring vastly more provincial and local health dollars to be tapped. Cutting the IFHP means a trickle of savings for the federal government’s bottom-line, but it will amount to exponentially greater financial and health service losses for provinces and municipalities, and for all Canadians, since we all rely on these services. This is a disastrous economic game for the federal government to be playing. . .”

Dr. M. Rashid remarks that “(r)efugee women from designated countries of origin will no longer have access to any care – none; no prenatal care, intrapartum care or post-natal care. They will not have access to “urgent or essential” care nor to contraception advice. . .” This drastic situation will have another severe effect in Nova Scotia. As Gillian Zubizarreta, Settlement Coordinator at the Halifax Refugee Clinic points out, “(b)abies born in Nova Scotia to refugee claimant parents are denied provincial health coverage due to the status of the parents. Currently, the baby falls under the mother’s IFH coverage. As a result we will have babies in our province who will be refused basic health care. This is in direct contravention to the Canada Health Act, to the rights of these babies, and will surely have detrimental effects on their health.”


More information is available at: www.doctorsforrefugeecare.ca

Media and other inquiries:

Jane Moloney, PhD

Executive Director

North End Community Health Centre

(902) 422 5642 x1


Chair, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres www.cachc.ca

Justice for All … Refugee Clinic honoured for outstanding work

May 30, HALIFAX – The Halifax Refugee Clinic received the Legal Information Society’s Honourable Lorne Clarke, Q.C. Access to Justice Award for its outstanding work in promoting access to justice for refugees. The Clinic, through a dedicated group of volunteers, provides refugee claimants with invaluable advice and assistance as they face the daunting task of moving through the refugee application process.
The dedication of a small staff and committed group of volunteers has resulted in a positive decision rate of nearly double the national average with almost an 83% success rate compared to the national average of 47%. The Clinic also helps refugees deal with work permits, housing, budgeting, English language skills and access to health care and psychological support.
In accepting the award on behalf of the Clinic, founding member and lawyer Lee Cohen said “receiving the award is public recognition that the Clinic is fulfilling its purpose and doing it well.” The award has special meaning for him because it is named after Lorne Clarke, he added: “I have greatly admired Lorne Clarke’s wisdom and kindness as a jurist since my first case before him in the 1980s. That experience influenced my own career in law.”
The LISNS Awards Committee members said they were impressed with the staff and volunteers’ passion for the program and their commitment to help some of the most vulnerable people in society. Many lawyers volunteer time to ensure that refugee claimants have access to legal services and to mentor law students.
“These volunteers are vital to the work of the Clinic,” says Julie Chamagne, the Clinic’s Executive Director, “We rely on the commitment and passion of our volunteers. The lawyers are all busy people with busy practices but they find the time to devote tens of thousands of dollars in time and expertise to the Clinic.”
The law is a powerful and often frightening instrument even for people born in Canada,” says Maria Franks, LISNS Executive Director, “For refugee claimants fleeing strife and often in fear for their and their family’s lives, the law and the legal system is even more frightening and alien. The Refugee Clinic is a shining example of an organization working to improve access to justice for this vulnerable population and embodies the spirit behind the LISNS Access to Justice Award.”
The award is named in honour of Lorne Clarke, Q.C., former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia and past LISNS board member. Former Chief Justice Clarke has long been a supporter of the work of LISNS, continuing legal education and access to justice.
LISNS has been helping people find answers to their legal problems and questions for almost 30 years. For more information, please visitwww.legalinfo.org.

Profile of the Month

The volunteer for the month of October is Hilario C. Lamotte! Read why Hilario chose to volunteer with the Halifax Refugee Clinic.
1. Why do you choose to Volunteer at the Halifax Refugee Clinic?
In my opinion, being a volunteer is already  a motive to be proud, because as the rest of the volunteers I like serving the community, and the Halifax Refugee Clinic gives me the chance to help refugees as well as newcomers to Canada. I am having a good time helping people.
The first example of volunteerism I found in Canada was at the Halifax Refugee Clinic where I came asking for help as a refugee. The Halifax Refugee Clinic shows me how to be unselfish, without any intention of looking for recognition or gratitude for my actions, shows me to look for a chance for the better in other newcomer’s situations when they arrive in Canada.
2. What is your favorite part of volunteering?
I enjoy having the possibility of sharing my skills to help people and at the same time when I am receiving their permission to being helped by me as part of our group of volunteers.

3. What do you LOVE about Halifax?
Halifax is a coastal city and has a big harbour, which remains me my natal city. Halifax also acts as a mother who is ready at all times to receive and consider new visitors as adopted children.

4. If you could choose one word to describe your volunteer position?

5. Who inspires you in your life?
Just a simple philosophy, where the knowledge is a gift that is not an individual luxury and is a shared responsibility to be shared with people in need.

Hilario C Lamotte