Government under fire for allegedly denying health care coverage to Sask.-born infant

The Saskatchewan NDP is looking for answers after a Saskatchewan-born infant was allegedly denied health care coverage due to being born to an immigrant mother.

Ms. Pereira is an Indian citizen who came to Canada on a student visa in 2018, her son was born in Regina in August of 2020. She claims that her son was denied health care after they both contracted COVID-19.

NDP Critic Meara Conway says it’s unacceptable for the province to have had denied this child the health care it needed, adding it shouldn’t matter where the child’s mother was born.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, this is a Canadian citizen, this boy was born in Saskatchewan,” said Conway. “I think of my son, both were born around the same time, in the same hospital, the only difference between them is who their mother is. To discriminate against this baby based on that is just not right.”

Health Minister Paul Merriman says he only just became aware of this situation and is committed to finding out what exactly happened. He says the province has never and will never deny health care to anyone.

“As a general policy, we say that no one will be denied health care, that’s the most important thing is that they have that health care and they have that level of safety,” said Merriman. “After that, there are policies and procedures in place that if somebody isn’t a Canadian citizen, or is from out of the country, the processes are in place to make sure that we do recover some of the costs that were incurred during any of their hospital stays.”

Conway says the matter was brought to Merriman’s attention in February and is disappointed he hasn’t dealt with it yet.

“I think it’s very disappointing that I gave the minister a perfect and ample opportunity to do the right thing, and it’s not until now when this has come out publicly and he’s being scrutinized, that he is actually taking the steps of resolving this,” said Conway. “He should have resoled it when he got my letter, that should have been enough.”

More from Play92