Health card ques­tions

Op­po­si­tion asks if im­mi­grants who used mo­tel ad­dress in­volved in in­ves­ti­ga­tion have P.E.I. health cards

Journal Pioneer - - THE ISLAND - BY RYAN ROSS

After hun­dreds of im­mi­grants al­legedly used a Char­lot­te­town mo­tel as their ad­dress, Op­po­si­tion health critic Sid­ney MacEwen wants to know how many of them got P.E.I. health cards. Speak­ing to the me­dia Wed­nes­day, MacEwen said his con­cern is whether those peo­ple are us­ing health ser­vices in other prov­inces while P.E.I. pays for them.

“They should be au­dit­ing this. We should have caught this a long time ago,” he said.

Re­cently re­leased search war­rants show the Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency found hun­dreds of im­mi­grants used the same ad­dresses be­tween 2008 and 2015.

Those ad­dresses were the Sher­wood Mo­tel and a Char­lot­te­town home be­long­ing to one of the mo­tel’s own­ers. Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Chris Palmer has said only 17 of those peo­ple who ap­plied through the Pro­vin­cial Nom­i­nee Pro­gram used the mo­tel as their ad­dress with the prov­ince.

The mo­tel’s own­ers are fac­ing sev­eral charges for al­legedly aid­ing and abet­ting mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion un­der the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Pro­tec­tion Act. MacEwen said pre­vi­ous re­ports from P.E.I.’s au­di­tor gen­eral found prob­lems with out-of-prov­ince health-care billing with­out the proper doc­u­men­ta­tion.

He won­dered if that in­cluded any of the peo­ple who used the mo­tel as their ad­dress.

“Hope­fully Health P.E.I. has picked up on this,” MacEwen said.

A state­ment from the prov­ince said ap­pli­cants for health cards are re­quired to have sup­port­ing doc­u­ments, which in­cludes those for per­ma­nent res­i­dency.

Those per­ma­nent res­i­dency doc­u­ments are val­i­dated through Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Canada be­fore health cards are pro­vided. MacEwen also raised his con­cerns dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s ques­tion pe­riod but did not get clear an­swers from Health Min­is­ter Robert Mitchell who said peo­ple have to be res­i­dents of P.E.I. for 183 days in order to get a health card.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor who has health cards on Prince Ed­ward Is­land…to en­sure that all those needs are be­ing met and the needs of im­mi­grants are be­ing met when they come and they spend six months on Prince Ed­ward Is­land, or 183 days, and that they do re­ceive those health cares.”

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