South Island Division of Family Practice

Refugee Resources


Call to Members

We are currently in the process of seeking Family Physician coverage for Syrian Refugees in concert with Victoria Division of Family Practice, Island Health, VIRCS (Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society and ICA (Inter Cultural Association of Greater Victoria).  We are hoping that you will put your name forward so that we can create a list and begin coordinating an information system of matching patients to physicians. We endeavor to make this process as streamlined as possible. Our aim is to direct you and keep you informed about payment, translator services etc. ​ To add your name to the list of physicians accepting Syrian Refugees please email  For more details see information provided below provided by Vancouver Island Refugee Response Team.


Medical Care for Refugees in Greater Victoria

courtesy of the Vancouver Island Refugee Response Team


Why provide medical services to Syrian refugees in Greater Victoria?

Syrian refugees have fled conflict in one of the greatest displacements of civilians since the Second World War. Canada has welcomed them as part of our humanitarian response to this crisis. By taking on one family, or one individual, your office can contribute to this effort. Currently very few General Practitioners are providing care but with more providers the load can be shared.   

What should we expect when the patients come in?

The state of the newcomer’s health varies, often depending on where they lived in Syria before the conflict started and where they have lived in the 6 years since. Someone who was living in a besieged neighborhood in Aleppo, or in a refugee camp, may have extensive problems. Another person who left early in the conflict and was able to work in a neighboring country may have been able to access regular health and dental care, although this is less common. 

For more information regarding providing medical care, communicating, payment for refugees, please see attached information sheet from the Vancouver Island Refugee Response Team.


Interim Federal Health Program

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits to people in the following groups who aren’t eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance

  • protected persons, including resettled refugees;
  • refugee claimants; and
  • certain other groups.

The IFHP does not cover the cost of health-care services or products that a person may claim (even in part) under a public or private health insurance plan. The IFHP does not coordinate benefits with other insurance plans/programs so co-payments aren’t possible.

If you are a refugee selected for resettlement, you may also be covered for certain medical services before you leave for Canada. Find out:

For individuals

Find out who is eligible, how to apply and what coverage is available.

For health-care professionals

Learn how to verify patients’ eligibility and submit claims.


Quick Sheet for Serving Syrian Families

See attached for valuable information from the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society.


Telephone Interpreting Services pilot

The Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Services Authority are conducting a pilot project to determine the demand for telephone interpreting services to support patient care in BC family practices. The pilot will provide telephone interpreting services to family practices across the province at no-cost to practices.

Physicians and other health care professionals on the family practice team who want to use the service will require an access code. A toll-free number and a division-specific access code will be shared via your local division and will enable the Provincial Language Service to collect and track usage data. Anonymized and/or aggregated data on the pilot project may be shared with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, such as local divisions and the GPSC.

For a list of languages, best practice information, and other details on interpreting services visit the Provincial Language Service website.

To use this service, please see the following information for more details:


Free Dental Screening and Cleaning for Resettled Refugee Children (5-18 years)

The Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA), Island Health and Camosun College Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) program are collaborating to provide free dental screening and teeth cleaning services for resettled refugee children ages 5-18 years.  See attached for more details and to book a screening.

Queen Alexandra Early Intervention Program (EIP)

EIP provides services to children aged birth to five years of age, who live in Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. Services are organized into four regional teams, each providing family-centered intervention services for children with a wide range of develop-mental needs.  Services are provided in the child's home.  The attached brochure is very helpful and informative, explaining the EIP program, what types of services are offered and how to refer children.  These brochures are available in FrenchArabicSimplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.


MOA Refugee Toolkit

VIRCS has prepared a toolkit for MOAs to support you as you interact and care for Syrian families. This toolkit includes tools to help your clinic care for a family and what systems are in place medically for their healthcare. Download toolkit here.