International Student Healthcare has been a top priority for UMSU this year. We strongly believe that healthcare is a human right, and that all international students deserve access to affordable, convenient healthcare.
In October, we sent a letter to President Benarroch outlining the #HealthHasNoBorders campaign and asking him to join our fight against this inequality. In the letter, we reminded President Benarroch that international students “make up over 30 percent of our entire undergraduate population [yet] pay up to five times higher tuition”. Furthermore, we asked President Benarroch to write a letter of support for the reinstatement of international students on the provincial healthcare plan at the cost of $0.
On October 27, President Benarroch sent a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration, the Honorable Jon Reyes. In this letter, he emphasized the value that international students have in our province, not only on our campus and society, but also in our economy. President Benarroch stressed that “reinstating all international students into the provincial healthcare plan would ensure that they are treated as valued members of society, and that Manitoba remains a welcome, attractive, and affordable destination for international students in a highly competitive market.”
While we have seen some wins for international students in Canada this year, such as the Federal Government’s decision to temporarily lift the 20-hour workweek cap, there is still much work to be done in the move towards equity and inclusion for all international students. International students are an integral component of provincial growth and success; they are strong contributors to cultural, social and economic diversification. We want to thank President Benarroch for his solidarity in standing up for the rights of international students and for challenging the provincial government to enact meaningful change.
We will continue the fight for international students’ healthcare in Manitoba. And we thank President Benarroch for this support.