TWO EVIL STEP-SISTERS, OHIP AND OSAP, AND THEIR VERY EVIL MOTHER, CRA

OHIP satnds for Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and it is the government medical insurance plan which covers the medical bills for people living in Ontario province.

OSAP stands for Ontario Student Assistant Programme, and it the government bureau which provides loans to students, covering their tuition fees and living expenses.

CRA is the Canada Revenue Agency, which gets taxes and pays benefits to Canadians.

And this evil family are conspiring to turn my otherwise beautiful Halifax summer into a nightmare, and indeed jeapordizing my whole “let’s settle and study in Canada” project, threatening to return me to smoky Tehran, defeated and empty-handed.  

I have no doubt that many Canadians have benefitted from OHIP and OSAP, but not me, at least, not yet. Here is the sad, bitter, unfinished story:

 Upon moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia, we applied for the Nova Scotia health insurance. WIthout health insurance here, it would be better up to be dead in a ditch rather than get any medical services- fees start from 600 dollars for a doctor looking at your child for five seconds, after a four-hour wait, and telling you there is nothing wrong with him, to thousands and thousands of dollars if -God forbid- you need hospitalization. The very kind government of Canada undertakes to insure all citizens and permanent residents, (so that the entire population doesn’t opt to die instead of paying the incredible medical bills); BUT has set in place a ring of fire-breathing, suspicious, ferocious watchdogs, also known as Client Services Representatives, who look at your documents and tell you whether you are eligible apply for state insurance etc. And because in Ontario, most of them already know that a lot of residents and citizens who are not originally from Canada simply want to get their insurance and then rush back to their home countries on the first flight out from Toronto, rather than pledge to remain in the province where they claim they are residing, they treat such applicants with a lot of suspicion, making them jump hoops and provide a lot documents proving they reside in Ontario. People, including myself, have been reduced to tears (several times) when dealing with these officials.

Now in Nova Scotia, when I applied for medical insurance, things didn’t seem so tough- maybe they just aren’t used to so many immigrants (yet). However, on information-providing, they score nil: they didn’t tell me that the provincial insurance starts after thrre months, and before that, you’re supposed to be covered by your home province. And, not knowing the details of inter-provincial Canadian health laws, naturally we didn’t guess. So, once we got our health cards, we merrily went to the doctor whenever we were ill, thinking we were covered by Nova Scotia insurance.

Apparently not. After a jumble of bills and hysterical demands from doctors and hospital accountants, Nova Scotia insurance told us that OHIP should cover our family’s insurance for three months, since we had claimed Ontario was our home province. The tiny little problem here was my big little son, who had just become a landed immigarnt, and had never even lived in Ontario. When I called OHIP, they said they would not cover my son. I called Nova Scotia insurance back, and they said to bring a letter to prove it. I called OHIP back, asking for a letter- they said they would send me one that afternoon (after a lot of interrogation). And that was two weeks ago- they still haven’t sent me letter. When I called OHIP again, they said they would send it again. They hadn’t sent it in the first place.

I thought the insurance was bad enough, until OSAP started bring-this-document-send-this-send-that with me. And then yesterday CRA started its “white torture”, really evil mind games which may cause financial devstation for me. Stay tuned, and I will unfold the story in further entries…

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One comment

  1. ZT

    It takes almost a year to really settle down so be patient…

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