Community Victory! BC Provides Health Coverage for People with Maintained Status

This community update is reposted with permission from Sanctuary Health. Click here to read the original post.

After rallies, position papers, press releases and an open letter, people with maintained status can breath a sigh of relief. Effective May 1, 2022, the Ministry of Health has announced that the Medical Services Plan (MSP) policy will be updated so individuals with maintained status can access MSP until a decision is made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on their application for extension.

People with Maintained Status (previously known as "Implied Status") are workers and students who have applied for new work or study permits before the expiry of their previous work or study permits and are legally entitled to live and work or study in Canada. Prior to July 1st 2017, the Ministry of Health provided nine months of healthcare coverage to individuals with what was then called “Implied Status.” However, on July 1st 2017, they decided to cut this coverage. The government offered temporary coverage during the pandemic to some people on COVID-19.

According to the Ministry, temporary coverage will be provided to maintained status holders who:

  • Remain in BC on maintained status while waiting for a subsequent work or study permit;
  • Were previously enrolled with MSP;
  • Demonstrate they hold maintained status by providing IRCC receipts showing they applied for their new permit before the expiration of their original permit (or documentation from IRCC if a receipt is not available); and,
  • If the temporary coverage is requested four weeks or longer after the expiration of their original permit, the individual will also need to provide documentation from IRCC demonstrating their application is still active. This may be from the IRCC client website or documentation from IRCC.

 You can read the Ministry of Health's information bulletin here.

People with Maintained Status will no longer have to live with the uncertainty of depending on temporary "COVID-19" coverage. Unlike the COVID-19 policies which arbitrarily set cut-off dates (for example, excluding people whose initial permit expired prior to December 1 2020), the new policy applies for everyone who has Maintained Status.

Thank you to the BC Health Coalition, the BCGEU, the BC Employment Standards Coalition, the BC Federation of Labour, the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Community Action Initiative, DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society, The Graduate Student Society at SFU, the Hospital Employees' Union, Living in Community, Migrante BC, the Migrant Workers' Centre, Pivot Legal Society, Vancouver Society for Children and Youth of BC, SWAN Vancouver, UFCW1518, Vancouver and District Labour Council, the Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights (CDWCR), West Coast LEAF, the Worker Solidarity Network and Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice for all of your work advocating for the province to stop violating the Canada Health Act.