Brief by the Québec Ombudsman on Bill 83
On April 14, 2021, Québec Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret presented a brief to the Committee on Health and Social Services on Bill 83, Act respecting mainly the health insurance plan and prescription drug insurance plan eligibility of certain children whose parents’ migratory status is precarious.
Ms. Rinfret welcomes this bill aimed at rectifying the unfairness flagged in her special report in 2018. Under the bill, Québec-born minors whose parents’ migratory status is precarious would be eligible for the public health insurance and prescription drug insurance plans. Children born outside Québec authorized to be on Canadian soil would quality under certain conditions. The Ombudsperson feels that these children, their families and society in general stand to gain.
However, she notes that certain sections of the bill as currently worded could be misinterpreted, so much so that some children could be ineligible. Moreover, she points out that the children concerned must be covered within a reasonable time frame, despite administrative procedures that can drag on.
The Ombudsperson made two recommendations in order to counter any unfavourable interpretation and unreasonable wait time.