What is the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) is a program that pays for medical services for a short period of time after you arrive in Canada. The program is for some refugees and refugee claimants.

You may be eligible if you cannot afford to pay for medical services and you do not have provincial health insurance (such as OHIP in Ontario), or private health insurance.

If you are a refugee resettled from overseas, such as a government-assisted refugee or privately-sponsored refugee, you might be eligible for some benefits under the IFH program until you can get provincial health insurance (such as OHIP, in Ontario). In addition, some refugee claimants are eligible for the program.

After you get provincial health insurance, you may still be eligible for partial benefits under the IFH program for up to 12 months after you arrived in Canada.

What does the IFH cover?

The IFH Program is not designed to replace provincial health insurance and does not provide the same extent of coverage as a provincial health insurance.

The IFH Program may cover some of these medical expenses:

  • Essential and emergency health services to treat and prevent serious medical conditions. This includes immunizations and other vital preventative medical care.
  • Prenatal and obstetrical care.
  • Essential prescription medications and vaccines in certain situations.
  • The immigration medical exam, if you cannot pay for it.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) decides if you are eligible for the IFH Program.

Important Note:

As of November 5, 2014, temporary measures are in place that provide coverage for hospital, medical and laboratory services for refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin and rejected refugee claimants with a deferral of removal, among others.  Eligibility criteria for the temporary measures are listed on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.  Coverage may be available to eligible refugee claimants through the Ontario Temporary Health Program.

For More Information

  • Application for IFH Coverage Extension - This application guide is for people who want to apply to extend (continue) their IFH coverage. It has detailed information about who is eligible for the IFH Program.
  • Financial Assistance and Loans System for Refugees - Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) fact sheet that gives basic information on the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), the Immigration Loans Program (ILP) and the Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program.
  • Immigration and Refugee Law - Clear language publications on legal topics relating to immigrants and refugees.
Last updated: July 08, 2015 4001261