Many newcomers arrive to Canada with a higher level of physical health than the average Canadian. This “healthy immigrant effect” is due in large part to the medical screenings required of newcomers.
However, health levels tend to decrease rapidly once in Canada, and many newcomer communities become high risk for chronic disease, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This deterioration is likely related to changes in diet, environment and the stresses of migration.
Some migrants, particularly refugees fleeing persecution, may suffer mental health problems related to earlier trauma experiences.
Culturally sensitive health care programs and resources are often limited in number and concentrated in certain geographical areas.
In addition, many general health care facilities lack policies and resources for addressing the needs of clients facing cultural or linguistic barriers.