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) 2019 Global Trends report, the number of forced migrants have doubled in the last twenty years. There are now over 25 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 2018 Canada accepted over 45,000 refugees with a large number 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 may not be prioritized despite many not having access to care pre-migration. Some refugees may also have endured war and other forms of violence. Despite these pressing health-care needs, a range of factors can impede access to health care, resulting in late intervention and potential health-care risks and complications. These factors include:
- refugees’ inability to navigate the medical system upon arriving in Canada
- competing challenges of migration including housing, employment and child care
- lack of familiarity with concepts of preventive services that may not have been available pre-migration
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:
- management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension
- full primary care for children including immunizations
- pregnancy care
- family planning advice
- annual health exams for people of all ages
- preventive care to avoid future illnesses
- assistance with issues such as sleep disorders, depressed mood and anxiety
- diagnosis and management of acute medical issues
- arranging appointments with specialists when necessary
- health education on a variety of health issues
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.