Correctional Services of Canada have not yet pledge cost coverage and access to Mifegymiso for people who are incarcerated in federal facilities.

Since federal inmates are exempt from the Canada Health Act and are not covered by either Health Canada or provincial health care systems, Correctional Services of Canada oversees the provision of essential health services (including prescription drugs) for federal inmates (people whose sentences are longer than 2 years). The program covers the cost of prescription drugs considered necessary by the health care professionals of inmates. Barriers to care include limited bed space and capacity, limited access to regional treatment centres and psychiatric hospitals, and the arbitrary nature of decisions being made by individual service providers in each facility. Decisions around coverage of specific medication are made at an institutional level, or by the Regional Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, and when relevant, the provincial formularies are used as a guide.

In accordance with Standards for Health Services, specifically Standard 414: Pharmaceutical Services, “all prescribed medications shall be dispensed/administered in an efficient and effective manner by qualified professionals in accordance with relevant legislation.”

 

Barriers to Access

We encourage the government to:

Incarcerated people have a right to health, as recognized in sections 85-86 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Yet, incarcerated individuals are often forgotten, undervalued, unconsidered, despised and deemed undeserving of quality and responsive health care. In fact, delivery and access to health care services within the federal correctional system is the number one complaint made to the Office of the Correctional Investigator, which highlights the dire situation of health care received within the federal correctional system. It is often assumed that prisoners don’t care about their health or are out to "trick us" (especially if they are people who use drugs). It is also often assumed that the deprivation of health care services is a part of the punishment of incarceration when in fact, prisoners are entitled to receive equivalent or comparable health care to what people receive in the outside community.

1. Ensure the equitable, easy and timely access to comprehensive a package of reproductive and sexual health services for all people in federal facilities, including cost coverage of Mifegymiso.

2. Actively address what contributes to the disproportionately high rate of incarceration among low income, racialized and Indigenous populations, including Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws.

3. Institute needle exchange prison programs to address HIV and HCV prevention needs.

4. Ensure access to nasal spray naloxone kits in response to the fentanyl crisis.

5. Ensure the better access to community-based organizations that support the physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological well-being of incarcerated people. Building on the progress made on the timely access to HIV and HCV treatment for people in federal facilities, we encourage the federal government to assure continuity of care and a holistic approach to health care by facilitating the building of strong relationships with community-based organizations addressing health.

6. Support peer health ambassador programs to assist incarcerated people in addressing their overall health needs.

7. Implement the recommendations included in the Mother Baby Guidelines to ensure we uphold the rights of incarcerated parents to nurse and bond with their babies.

8. Give all trans prisoners the right to choose their gendered housing and ensure policies around searching and access to medical care upholds the right of trans people, including initiating or continuing hormone therapy