Once you resettle in Canada as a refugee, you may have coverage for counseling services through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).

The IFHP is a program in Canada that aims to provide temporary health care coverage to certain individuals who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health coverage. The Canadian government may cover costs for up to 10 hours of mental health counseling through IFHP. That means there could be relief in sight for anxiety, trauma, depression, and other concerns.

The IFHP provides temporary coverage to the following people:

  • protected persons
  • resettled refugees
  • refugee claimants

The IFHP provides coverage for mental health services provided by:

  • general practitioners
  • family doctors
  • mental health hospitals
  • mental health clinics

Family doctors and/or general practitioners are responsible to diagnose mental health. Depending on your personal situation, doctors may refer you to other mental health professionals, such as:

  • clinical psychologist
  • psychotherapists
  • counselling therapists

You must have a doctor’s referral to apply for covered counseling services through the IFHP.

When your physician refers you, you are also covered for the mental health services provided to you by clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselling therapists. Mental health professionals can help you improve or maintain your mental health with:

  • therapy
  • counselling
  • medication
  • a combination of the above

Any healthcare providers you see must be registered with the IFHP administrator to be covered.

The Family Enhancement Center has therapists registered with the IFHP.  

What can TFEC do?
As a mental health agency of registered social workers and psychotherapists, The Family Enhancement Centre (TFEC) qualifies as an eligible provider for IFHP. We have years of experience providing counseling to refugees. We are dedicated to helping people maintain a state of wellness for themselves and their families. We understand problems and issues in the life of refugees. We have a variety of therapists with diverse backgrounds making it easier to understand and connect with clients’ social and cultural issues. We offer counseling in English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Ukrainian, and Russian. We help clients improve and learn new strategies for dealing with difficult times and recover from serious setbacks and traumas in their lives. We work from a strength-based perspective, looking for solutions to help people move on from their problems.

Our counsellors are registered psychotherapists and registered social workers with varying specialties, including:

  • Trauma Processing
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Play Therapy
  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Critical Incident Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Grief Counselling
  • Anger Management
  • Couples Counselling
  • Family Counselling
  • Youth Counselling
  • Co-parenting
  • Depression, anxiety
  • PTSD

What these approaches share in common is a thoughtful, compassionate counsellor working in partnership with you to develop a course of therapy that best suits your needs.

What kind of counselling is covered? The government is not specific; however, your counselling experience is an ongoing partnership between you and the therapist. TFEC carefully works to match a counsellor to your needs.

Counselling takes place both in person in TFEC’s Brampton, Mississauga, Orangeville or St. Catharines office and remotely via secure, online web meeting. Counselling is available anywhere in Ontario that has an internet or phone connection.

Please reach out to us and one of our client intake specialists will gladly explain the process and answer any questions. Our aim is to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Are mental health counselling costs under IFHP covered for all who identify as Refugee?

It is not enough to identify as a refugee. There are a few steps required to get covered counselling services.

Step 1: Eligibility Eligibility is officially defined by the government of Canada as follows:

  1. Resettled refugees
  2. Protected Persons in Canada
  3. Refugee Claimants
  4. Victims of Human Trafficking
  5. Detainee

Step 2: Apply for coverage

You may automatically be approved for IFHP coverage with your refugee status.  In some cases, you will have to apply for IFHP coverage. Learn more on how to apply for IFHP https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/help-within-canada/health-care/interim-federal-health-program/apply.html

Step 3: Family Doctor/General Practitioner Referral

Once your claim is approved, you will have to make a visit to a Family Doctor or general practitioner. Depending on your case, if a family doctor refers you to see a mental health practitioner than you qualify for covered counselling services.

Step 4: Find a IFHP approved Mental health facility

You can access these benefits from an eligible provider. As a mental health agency of registered social workers and psychotherapists, The Family Enhancement Centre (TFEC) qualifies as an eligible provider. 

How many sessions will I get approved for?

Eligible clients can receive up to 10 hours of counselling. In some cases, those hours can be extended. This allotment of time recognizes that healing of trauma and treatment of mental health issues requires ongoing engagement and support.

Once I get approved, when could I begin covered counselling sessions?

Almost immediately. As a private mental health agency, we have no waiting lists. Help is just a phone call or an email away.

What About Privacy?

Many people are concerned about privacy but usually find creative ways to find quiet spaces away from other people. Often community centres, libraries or band offices are happy to make internet-enabled meeting rooms available.

For more information about this program please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/help-within-canada/health-care/interim-federal-health-program.html

The Family Enhancement Centre does not fund counseling services. The Family Enhancement Centre provides counselling services. All individuals are solemnly responsible to ensure that they are covered.