Written by Emily Carpenter, Consultant, Ethics and Diversity Services

Many immigrants and refugees are moving into the Fraser Health and there was a gap identified between the health services that are offered and newcomers' understanding of those services.

As you may know, 80 to 90 per cent of immigrants who come to B.C. eventually settle in the Fraser Health region. There are many people arriving in the Fraser Health region who are unfamiliar with various aspects of Canadian life and culture, for instance: the economy, the language, getting a job, finding somewhere to live, and not insignificantly, the health care system. As you can imagine, not knowing how to navigate our health care system could have numerous negative consequences, such as misused resources, poor health outcomes, and perpetuated inequities.

Thankfully, it isn’t all bad news. One of the solutions identified for this problem was to create a booklet to help orient newcomers to Canada to our health care system.

With Fraser Health staff, community leaders, and members of the public, we created a booklet directed towards newcomers (refugees and immigrants) to help them navigate the health care system in general, and Fraser Health services specifically. This booklet is called "Finding Your Way Around Our Health Care System: A Guide for Newcomers to Canada". Although this booklet is written with newcomers in mind, it would be suitable for anyone. It contains an overview of the health care system, FAQs about health care in Canada, a quick look at some of the different services offered, and what you can do to find out more information.

These are some of the ways we see this resource being used:

  • For newcomers with lower health literacy, it would be a handy guide for health care providers to go through with their patients to answers common questions and show them how to access services.
  • For newcomers with higher health literacy, it can simply be given out as is and referenced by the individual as they need.
  • For community service providers, it can be used to give information about the different services offered through Fraser Health.
  • For everyone, it is a tool they can reference to find out more about what information and supports are available for the newcomer population.

We are really excited about releasing this booklet. We believe that it will be a great tool for providing accurate and relevant information about the health care system to newcomers.

Currently, the booklet is only available in English. Our next steps will be to translate and distribute it into the most relevant languages, so that it can be used by the people who need it most.

Click here to order copies of this booklet on the Patient Education catalogue.

Feel free to contact Emily.Carpenter@fraserhealth.ca with any comments or questions, or you can contact Diversity Services at diversity.services@fraserhealth.ca.

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