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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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Refugee Benefits


Jan. 2015
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) advises (en français) that changes to the secure web portal following the implementation of temporary measures to the IFHP on Nov. 5, 2014, have been completed and the secure provider web portal is available once again.

Nov. 5, 2014
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) claims administrator, Medavie Blue Cross, informed all registered pharmacy providers and associations about changes in policy through the Provider Bulletin (en français).

Effective immediately, all IFHP beneficiaries receive coverage for one of the two drug coverage plans: IFHP Prescription Drug Coverage or IFHP Public Health or Public Safety (PHPS) Prescription Drug Coverage.

1. IFHP Prescription Drug Coverage includes coverage for prescription medications and other products listed on public drug plan formularies and certain products included in the IFHP Prescription Drug Coverage for these clients:

  • Children eligible for the IFHP who are under 19 years of age
  • Pregnant women who are eligible for the IFHP
  • Resettled refugees who are or were receiving  monthly income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) or its equivalent in Quebec
  • Victims of human trafficking who have a valid temporary resident permit (under subsection 24(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act)
  • Certain people who are being resettled in Canada as a result of a public policy or humanitarian and compassionate considerations on the Minister’s own initiative and who receive monthly income support through the RAP or its equivalent in Quebec
  • Rejected refugee claimants who cannot be removed from Canada as a result of a deferral of removal for generalized risk
  • People or groups granted IFHP benefits on the initiative of the Minister because of exceptional and compelling circumstances
  • People detained by the Canada Border Services Agency

Similar to before, prior approval is required for the medications listed as restricted use, limited use, exceptional status or special authorization within the respective provincial drug plan.  The IFHP will use the same recognition criteria for prior approval and payment as provided in the provincial/territorial public prescription drug insurance plan.  Requests may be submitted via fax to 506-867-3824, by mail, or by calling the Medavie Blue Cross Customer Service Centre at 1-888-614-1880.

For regular drug benefits, prior approval is not required. Pharmacy providers who are registered with IFHP can submit claims through the Point of Sale (POS) system and this system provides information on coverage for specific drugs and products. Claims can also be submitted to Medavie by mail or fax.

2. Public Health or Public Safety (PHPS) Prescription Drug Coverage includes prescription medications and related products, only if required to prevent or treat a disease posing a risk to public health or to treat a condition of public safety concern and included in the IFHP PHPS Drug Benefit List. The benefits are covered with special authorization criteria available on the website. Prior authorization must be obtained by the prescriber for all medications and products. This coverage is for these clients:

  • Privately sponsored refugees who do not receive and have not received monthly income support through the RAP or its equivalent in Quebec
  • Refugee claimants while their refugee claim is still awaiting decision from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), including any appeals of a negative decision on their claim
  • Ineligible refugee claimants who are eligible to apply for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA)
  • People whose refugee claim is suspended
  • Rejected refugee claimants
  • Protected persons
  • Persons with a positive PRRA decision receiving a stay of removal

Please note that these groups do not include children under 19 years of age and pregnant women, who are eligible for IFHP Prescription Drug Coverage as mentioned above.

Although the above eligibility groups may appear complicated for IFHP providers, they do not need to know their client’s immigration category. Up-to-date IFHP coverage verification can be quickly accessed via telephone at 1-888-614-1880. Alternatively, pharmacy providers who are registered with the IFHP can submit claims in real time through the Point of Sale (POS). 

Please note that IFHP pharmacy reimbursement policy by province or territory is also available.

Should you have any further questions on the program, please do not hesitate to communicate with the IFHP by email. This email is monitored regularly throughout the day so that prompt attention is given to any questions. 


In May 2012 the federal government announced changes to the Interim Federal Health Program that would limit what health care services refugee claimants could receive. The benefits were initially scheduled to be cancelled but were instead reduced. Find out how to verify clients' eligibility for services and determine what benefits apply with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada's bulletins Important information for service providers concerning client eligibility or Information importante pour les fournisseurs de services à propos de l'admissibilité des clients.

Our response to the changes: Read our letter to the minister and our press release.

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