Nova Scotia denies health coverage to woman facing deportation

by Leo Almazora21 Nov 2016
A woman who may be deported to Britain is currently detained and recovering from surgery. Advocates have asked for her release, but her lack of provincial health coverage has complicated the situation, according to the Canadian Press.

Fliss Cramman, a 33-year old mother of four, first set foot in Canada around 25 years ago, but her parents failed to get her citizenship. She was convicted and sentenced to 27 months in prison for offering to traffic heroin in 2014. She had served two thirds of her sentence and was out on parole when the Canada Border Services Agency looked into her background, which led to her getting detained once more and being recommended for deportation.

Cramman underwent a series of colon surgeries after being rushed to the hospital from a Dartmouth prison facility on Aug. 12. A doctor with the Canadian Border Services Agency has deemed Cramman fit for travel on Dec. 16, the earliest possible date for her deportation according to federal officials. Cramman’s surgeon, on the other hand, has warned that she must remain in the country for about 18 months to recuperate.

The Elizabeth Fry Society has asked for Cramman’s removal from the detention list and her release into their care at a halfway house in Sydney, NS, saying they will help her deal with long-standing mental health issues and drug addiction precipitated by years of physical and sexual abuse.

Speaking for the society, Darlene MacEachern explained that their request faced a major hurdle. “One of the major concerns was that Fliss couldn't be released without health care,” she said.

According to Eachern, the Nova Scotia provincial government has confirmed its refusal to deny Cramman health coverage because she is not a Canadian citizen.

Speaking for the government, provincial health minister Leo Glavine said that correspondence had been provided to the society, though he did not discuss the content of the response.

MacEachern said that the Elizabeth Fry Society would attend a hearing at Dartmouth General Hospital to discuss Cramman’s health needs and outline plans to provide private healthcare funding for her.

“This would have been so simplified if (provincial health care) had been reinstated,” MacEachern said. “We could have just gone forward and said that part of the risk is covered and now we just have to do a whole lot more work.”

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