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IFHP Extended Coverage Pilot for Counselling Services for Afghan Refugees

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides counselling services coverage for 12 months for resettled refugees. If you are an Afghan resettled refugee, you may be eligible for a new pilot project that adds 12 more months, for a total of 24 months of coverage for counselling services.
coverage for counselling services

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is piloting the extension of Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage for mental health counselling for Afghan refugees. 

Eligibility criteria

Those who arrived on or after June 1, 2022, as part of the Government of Canada’s humanitarian response to the situation in Afghanistan are eligible for this initiative. This applies to Government Assisted Refugees (GARs), Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs), and Blended Visa Office-Referred refugees (BVORs).

Resettled Afghan refugees who completed an initial assessment for mental health counselling within the first year of arrival and who have no other form of insurance to cover counselling services will continue to be covered under the IFHP. The program covers counselling sessions and related interpretation services for an additional year, for a total of two full years.

Please note that the following newcomers only receive limited IFHP coverage, so they would not be eligible for this coverage: 

  • extended family members of former Afghan interpreters
  • extended family members of former language and cultural advisors

How can counselling be helpful?

Counselling can help with:

  • stress
  • grief
  • difficulty sleeping
  • sadness
  • bad memories
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • family tension

What does this extended coverage include?

  • Assessments and counselling sessions are covered for 2 full years starting on the date you arrived in Canada
  • Professional interpretation services for assessment and counselling sessions for 2 full years starting on the date you arrived in Canada
  • In-person appointments or online (virtual) appointments (if offered by the service provider)

If the counsellor doesn’t speak the language of your choice, the IFHP will cover the cost of professional interpretation services for your counselling sessions. Ask your counsellor to arrange for an interpreter for your sessions. All counselling sessions and interpretation services are private and confidential.

How to get an assessment?

You must do an assessment within your first year in Canada in order to qualify for this service.

  1. Ask your family doctor or nurse practitioner, or a doctor at a walk-in clinic to refer you to a counsellor (clinical counsellor, registered counsellor, social worker, psychologist or psychotherapist) who is registered with Medavie Blue Cross.
  2. Complete an initial assessment with the counsellor. They will send the assessment to Medavie for their approval. Counselling can begin once the coverage is approved.

Resettled newcomers are encouraged to have a valid email address on file with IRCC, as IRCC will notify those who have been approved for this additional coverage directly by email. Email addresses can be updated using this Webform.

Do you have any questions related to this second year of coverage?


For more information