Once again I am coming to you asking for you to consider going to battle with me and other adoptive families to fight for the rights of our children.
It has come to our attention in the past couple of days that the Province of Ontario has recently begun to enforce a policy which will now withhold OHIP coverage (provincial medical coverage) for Hannah and other internationally adopted children for a period of 3 months.
Until a few weeks ago an internationally adopted child was granted OHIP coverage (medical coverage for which we pay for with our taxes) upon arrival in Canada. These children often arrive in Canada having had less medical care than they would have here and one of the very first things we would do would be to take them for a medical to see how we can best help our children.
Can you imagine a mother giving birth to a child in a hospital and the government saying, 'OK, see you in 3 months when we will begin to cover your child's medical needs?' No! Why do they feel it is ok to do this for internationally adopted children? I live in this province and pay my taxes just as any birthparent does. Why should my child be denied medical care? What happens if she is ill during these first few months? The adoption itself stretches many adoptive parents financially, myself included, so if suddenly I need to pay for all medical care out of pocket, if I can even get medical care for her, is totally unfair! I don't even know how it would work as the very first thing I have to do at any doctor's office is to swipe my OHIP card. What will happen if I don't even have a card for Hannah? Truly it's frightening, especially when it can easily be avoided.
Recently it seems that international adoptions have been fighting many battles and this is another one to add to the list. 2 months ago it was the Citizenship challenge and now OHIP coverage. Fighting for my child though has the 'mamma bear' is coming out again!
This is where you come in. Would you consider writing letters on our behalf to help get this situation rectified? I truly believe that it is not meant for our children to be discriminated against but sadly this is what this policy is doing. I truly believe that this policy can be overturned if enough people bring it to the attention of our government. Hannah will now arrive home as a Canadian citizen so the next challenge is to get the Province to accept this too and begin to once again offer medical coverage immediately upon arrival in Ontario.
So, what can you do? If you're a resident of Ontario I ask that you please consider contacting your local MPP and others letting them know of this unfair policy and how it negatively affects so many innocent children.
For a list of the local MPPs in your area: CLICK HERE
Also, here are the addresses of others who you can contact to help overturn this policy:
1) David Caplan - the Minister of Health:
2) Abid Malik - the Director of Policy for the Minister: Abid.Malik@ontario.ca
3) Heather Mack - the Chief of Staff for the Minister: Heather.Mack@ontario.ca
4) Ron Sapsford - the Deputy Minister: Ron.Sapsford@ontario.ca
5) Ken Deene - Assistant Deputy Minister, Health System Accountability and
Performance Division: firstname.lastname@example.org
6) Dawn Ogram - Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate and Direct Services: Dawn.Ogram@ontario.ca
and... here is a form letter for anyone interested in writing (change as needed to fit your situation):
It has come to my attention that recently several families have been denied OHIP coverage for their newly internationally adopted children, having been told by both ServiceOntario staff and Ministry of Health staff that these children are required to have lived in Ontario for three months prior to obtaining coverage.
This is extremely upsetting to me both as a resident of Ontario and as an adoptive parent. This new policy, implemented January 2009, is clearly discriminatory as it does not provide equal treatment to our adopted children as is provided to their born-in-Ontario counterparts. It is even more confusing that the Ontario government would choose to deny medical coverage to infants and children who have just come from institutional care in developing nations and therefore require immediate medical attention to ensure their well-being, now and in the future.
This matter is urgent as every day, more and more children are being denied health care upon their arrival in Ontario. Ministry staff have quoted Regulation 552 of the Health Insurance Act as the reason for the denial of OHIP coverage, however to my knowledge this regulation has not changed and previous to January 27, 2009 internationally adopted children were able to receive health care immediately upon arriving home to Ontario with their adoptive parents.
Our adopted children deserve to receive fair and equal treatment as compared to children who are born in Ontario. I respectfully request that action be taken immediately to remedy this situation and I look forward to hearing your response on this urgent matter.
Insert your name and contact details
Family and friends, Thank you so much for considering writing these letters to help Hannah and all of the other children who are being welcomed into Ontario. I truly believe that if enough people write their concerns to those who can make the changes then it can happen. All children in the province deserve the right to good medical coverage and I believe it can happen again.