Montreal

New clinic opens in Montreal for migrants with no health insurance

The city of Montreal has a new one-of-a-kind clinic where medical treatment will be provided to people with no health care coverage.

Clinic would treat those trapped in bureaucratic mazes such as temporary workers, foreign students

Médecins du Monde inaugurated its clinic on Crémazie Street East Tuesday evening, the only one of its kind to offer medical services to uninsured migrants. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

The city of Montreal has a new one-of-a-kind clinic where medical treatment will be provided to people with no health care coverage.

Médecins du Monde Canada, a non-governmental organization that helps provide medical treatment to the needy, inaugurated the clinic at 560 Crémazie Street East Tuesday evening.

It would allow medical services to be given to those stuck in bureaucratic mazes, such as the children of immigrants or permanent residents still waiting to receive their medicare cards.

According to Dr Nicolas Bergeron, president of Médecins du Monde Canada, many of the clinic's patients are expected be seasonal workers, undocumented migrants and people in precarious financial situations.

Bergeron added that one out of every three patients seeks services illegally.

"Some are worried about being identified and deported, but that is not the majority," he said.

Another third of patients who turn to Médecins du Monde Canada have access to the health care system, but need help due to language barriers.
About half of the patients at the clinic are expected to be tourists, seasonal workers and students. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Help wanted from the province

The clinic is operating on $350,000 a year, which comes from philanthropic funding and public funding for the fight against sexually transmitted diseases.

"We are trying to convince the state that helping uninsured migrants is a better solution for all of us," Bergeron said.

"Médecins du Monde can build a small sanctuary clinic, but the problem is obviously much wider. We need a stronger response from the state."

With files from Radio-Canada

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