The right to health for all children in Quebec, without condition

Quebec is currently examining Bill 83, which aims to extend RAMQ coverage to certain children, including those born in the province but whose parents have a precarious migratory status, who currently do not have access to it. The International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) welcomes the will to change the system, but points out its inadequacy. In order to align with international standards on children’s rights, Quebec must stop creating conditions for access to health care, but instead facilitate access to all children present in the territory.

Not all children living in Quebec have the same chances to be and remain healthy. Currently, some cannot be covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the provincial health insurance, because of their civil status, their migratory status or that of their parents. Since the purpose of the rights of the child is to protect the child as a human being in his or her own right, the child as a subject of law must be able to enjoy all the rights recognised to him or her, beyond any consideration of citizenship or migratory status. All children present in Quebec should then be able to enjoy their right to health, without condition.

For the IBCR, Bill 83 is a first step in the right direction, but it remains opaque and overly complex, and does not go far enough with regard to the rights of the child as set out in international standards, to which Canada, and therefore Quebec, has subscribed. To be able to truly claim to guarantee the full range of children’s rights, the province must allow all children residing in its territory to access its health insurance, without any further conditions.

Quebec needs to reconsider health coverage for children as a whole, to ensure that it fits each child, not the other way around.  

The International Bureau for Children’s Rights was able to present a brief and express its concerns and demands before the Parliamentary Commission on Health and Social Services, which is in charge of the study of Bill 83.

> Watch the audience

The IBCR recommends:

  • That all children, regardless of their migratory status or situation, present even temporarily in Quebec, have free access to primary health care.
  • That all children residing in Quebec be covered by the RAMQ, regardless of their place of birth or the migratory status of their parents. Residence must then be understood in the sense of the Civil Code of Québec, i.e., de facto residence, and not the residence – permanent or temporary – of Canadian immigration law.
  • That access to the RAMQ be simplified, as well as the related administrative procedures, in order to create a system that is more accessible for both patients and health care personnel, more efficient administratively, and more effective in terms of public health.
  • That information sharing between immigration, police and health services be limited, so as not to discourage children in an irregular situation, or whose parents have a precarious migration status, from accessing appropriate care.
  • That pregnancy and perinatal care be taken into consideration in these reflections on access to health care and RAMQ coverage, because the health of the child is at stake from the moment of pregnancy.

Read the brief submitted to the commission (in french only)

More informations : Marielle Collet, communications manager –