Welcome to Women’s College Hospital’s Refugee Health Clinic, Toronto’s first hospital-based refugee health clinic. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2010 Global Trends report, there are 15.4 million refugees. This includes women, men and children who are forced to flee their country in fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group, armed conflict or violence. Most have experienced immeasurable violence, trauma, poverty and discrimination. In 2011 Canada accepted approximately 27,000 refugees, with 25-35 per cent settling in Toronto.
Arriving in Canada with the hope of a better life, refugees often deal with the immediacy of finding housing and employment, culture shock and learning a new language. As a result, health care can easily slip down the priority list – even though many have already had to face a lack of access to curative and preventive health care, as well as psychosocial effects of war and violence during sometimes long stays in refugee camps. Despite these pressing health-care needs, a range of factors can impede their access to health care, resulting in late intervention and potential health-care risks and complications. These factors include:
To address these factors and help make the transition easier for newly arrived refugees, WCH created the Crossroads Clinic, which complements the long-standing work being done in neighbourhood community health centres. We provide comprehensive medical services to newly arrived refugee clients for their first two years in Toronto. Our medical team has previously worked with hundreds of newly arrived refugees and is very familiar with the refugee process and all the stresses and challenges that it involves. We provide a range of services including the following:
To make an appointment, please call 416-323-6031.
When required, we will arrange for interpreters.
After two years, we will connect you to a family physician near your home.
The work of the clinic is supported by a Refugee Health Advisory Council that acts as a resource on refugee health-care needs and shares information about the clinic among health and community providers. The council has representatives from 19 partner organizations, including refugee shelters, community health centres, clinicians and researchers.