Provinces providing public health insurance to international students
Post-secondary students in Ontario report experiencing overwhelming anxiety
Shamefully, there is little to no data about the experiences of trans and gender non-conforming students accessing health services on campuses
Students today face unprecedented challenges, such as ever-increasing tuition fees and historic levels of student debt. These challenges impact their physical and mental health.
- Campus mental health services are experiencing increasing student demands as more and more students are experiencing severe anxiety and depression.
- Wait times for campus counsellors have increased significantly as student demands increase.
For international students, these challenges are made even more daunting due to the additional barriers they must overcome when trying to access health services.
- Ontario is one of five provinces that do not include international students under public health care coverage.
- International students must enrol in private health insurance programs that are not universally accepted by physicians, hospitals and clinics and cost between $600 and $2,000 per year.
- Due to limited health coverage, international students are more likely to ignore health concerns to avoid the upfront costs of accessing health care.
Trans and gender non-conforming students also face unique and additional barriers when accessing both physical and mental health services.
- Campus services often lack the knowledge about the realities of trans students, gender non-conforming students or students simply questioning their gender identity.
- Trans and gender non-conforming students often contend with care providers who are ignorant of their experiences, transphobic and discriminatory.
Students have organized many local and national campaigns to address the struggles of trans and international students in accessing basic health care and the need for fully funded mental health services on campus. The Canadian Federation of Students continues to lobby for international students to be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), which was the case up until the 1990s, and mandatory diversified mental health first aid training for campus staff to better support students with diverse lived experiences.
Students are calling on the provincial government to push campuses to be health-promoting institutions for ALL students. Become a part of these efforts by pushing political parties to:
- Immediately reintegrate international students into OHIP.
- Implement campus-wide training on gender for all mental and physical health care providers.
- Increase funds for campus-run initiatives to improve student mental health and student access to mental health services.