Dec. 15, 2022

International Universal Health Is A Human Right: Up close and personal with an International Student from Nigeria

International Universal Health Is A Human Right: Up close and personal with an International Student from Nigeria

Advocate. Community Engagement. Community Organizer.


Judith Oviosun came from Nigeria to study medicine at the University of Manitoba. Along the educational pathway which Judith found herself recognized by being placed on the prestigious Dean’s list, she saw areas where International Students’ voices were not being heard. She quickly discovered that to create change, you had to more than just talk about it. You needed to find a seat at the policy decision making table.During her time studying at the University of Manitoba, Judith Oviosun has served as Youth President of the Nigerian Association of Manitoba, she has been elected the Women’s Community Representative – University of Manitoba Student’s Union, and spent time as the President of the University of Manitoba’s Nigerian Student’ Association.

In each of these and other roles, Judith Oviosun has pursued a role in leadership advocating for human rights. She argues passionately the myth that International Students do not make financial contributions to the healthcare they receive. In fact, all International Students pay taxes on their tuition and they pay taxes while working part time.Understanding that health budgets take up a big part of government spending, and that International Students participate in the make-up of that health budget, Judith Oviosun believes that Universal healthcare is a human right that should be as barrier free as possible.During the conversation Judith talks about her involvement with The Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration. The Alliance for Gender Justice in Migration is a network of people with lived experience, academics, advocates, and service providers across Canada who are actively working together to end discrimination against women and gender diverse migrants. They conduct research, develop policy solutions, raise public awareness, and advocate for change by platforming the voices of those with lived experience.

Transcript

Stuart (host) 00:00:00
This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of the Anishnawbe, Cree, Oji Cree, Dakota, and the Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis nation.

Voiceover 00:00:19
This is Humans on Rights, a podcast advocating for the education of human rights. Here's your host, Stuart Murray.

Stuart (host) 00:00:29

That is a big topic and I am delighted to have somebody who is a local community advocate community engagement specialist and a community organizer to talk to us a little bit about the notion of what is international, universal health coverage.

So before I do a quick introduction, I would like to welcome Judith chosen to Humans on rights.

Welcome Judith.

Thank you.

Sad I need this Judith abuse and I'm really excited to have this conversation and thank you for inviting me.

Okay Judith, thank you so much.

So just by way of introduction, I can see why at the top of your resume Judith you talk about advocate community engagement specialist and community organizer because you have spent time as the University of Manitoba Nigerian Students Association, the President, you've been the University of Manitoba students Union, you've been involved in women's community representative in that regard.

You're a health care aide supervisor, health care for All coalition, you're a community organizer for that, the Canadian Federation of Students advocacy campaign coordinator and currently occupational health center as a health educator.

You also have a degree from the University of Manitoba and it is a Bachelor of Science in nutritional science and I noted on your resume that you were on the dean's honor roll, so that's pretty spectacular.

So there's more to your resume, but that's some of the highlights.

Let's just get a sense about your background, who you are, where did you go to school?

What what got you interested in becoming an advocate and where did you sort of learn all of that skill that takes you to where you are today Judith.

So um I grew up in a very small town in Nigeria.

It's called Katsina.

It's a very small place of small city and um I moved to Canada in 2015 to study at the University of Manitoba where I had a BSC in human nutritional sciences.

I was an international student when I came to Canada and I was very involved with my organization, the Nigerian Student Association because coming here as an immigrant that was where I could find like minded individuals like myself who were experiencing the same issues when I was there.

The community was not very strong.

We only had a few people and I just wanted to build something that um, you know, a really good hope because it helped me and we were able to talk about some of the issues we had together.

So I ran to be the president because I wanted to reform the organization and which was successful.

We do have a very strong community right now on campus at the University of Manitoba with over 100 and 50 Nigerian students who are actively involved in the community hub that I created as a president there, I did see a lot of issues that were affecting people not just within my community, but other women as well on campus.

And I knew that to create change just talking about it was not enough because I wasn't able to get much done just by voicing my frustration with the system with the things that were going on on campus.

So in order to create positive change, I felt like I had to be at the decision making table, which is something that I found in common with a lot of immigrant advocates in Manitoba as well as across Turtle Island Canada.

So I ran to be the women's representative and I did that for a year and I was able to sit on multiple boards and the one I'm proud of is the equity, diversity and inclusion board being there.

I I saw like, you know, decisions being made and being able to impact those decisions and like have a voice and make sure that they're being reflective of the community I'm representing was very powerful.

And that was my first introduction to like the politics of not just the student movement, but also the government and the provincial and the federal government and knowing that, you know, there are people at the table and if you're not there to say your piece a lot of times that would not be included in policy or decision making processes.

So, you know, being able to be part of that board gave me a lot of experience and a lot of like passion and more love for my community and I wanted to do more and so yeah, I graduated and started working with the Canadian Federation of students to continue that work.

So Judith, I mean advocacy leadership is really a part of what you are very passionate about.

Can we just sort of go back a bit.

So you were raised in a small community in Nigeria.

What brought you or what was your connection to come to Canada and or Manitoba and then Winnipeg.

I had applied to other universities at that time, I wanted to study abroad because I wanted to study medicine or nursing, but I wanted a place where I could do a lot of practical or have access to like world class technology laboratories and um at that time Canada was very popular in Nigeria and they were welcoming a lot of international students.

Manitoba was for me by chance, I did not know anywhere in Canada when I applied um when I was looking for admission, University of Winnipeg was the only one offering ruling admission at that time, that was why I looked towards Manitoba and then eventually University of Manitoba but I didn't have any specific reason why I came to Manitoba but I really have enjoyed my time here and I love it, although it's very cold.

Yeah, yeah.

So how many years have you been in Manitoba Judith?

I would say over six years now.

2015-2022.

Yeah.

You know over six years and you decided that you were going to spend a bit of time at the University of Manitoba.

That's where you got your bachelor of science uh and made the Dean's honor list.

I have to say that again, because that's impressive.

But is that where you were looking at maybe getting into medicine or your nursing?

Is that why you maybe chose that path?

Yes, that was why I was there because at the University of Winnipeg they didn't have like those programs.

So I thought it was easier for me to go to University of Manitoba that way I could, but being at the University of Manitoba and quickly realizing, you know, tuition was going up and um it was just getting more and more like I couldn't afford to study nursing because of the high cost of tuition or even medicine because as an international student, that's not a direct path until you become a permanent resident.

So yeah, that was the dream that brought me here.

But very quickly you can see it's kind of shifted to more like community organizing and advocacy, which I've enjoyed.

You have been out in the community doing a lot of things advocating things Judith and and you know, that's really, I think as you said, so well at the beginning you have to be at the table, your voice has to be heard if you're trying to impact or effect change.

So Judith, can I just ask you a little bit then let's talk a little bit about this notion of universal health coverage.

I don't really want to get to all the politics of it, although there's a lot of politics involved and I get that, but share with me and those that listening your experience as an international student around universal health coverage for me, I would just say, I believe that health care, human rights and we should all be able to access it regardless of our immigration status and that's what a lot of the organizations I work with, they strongly believe in that as an international student when I came to Manitoba, I was able to enjoy like the privilege of having like healthcare coverage extended to international students at the time, so contrary to opinions that are being out there that international students are leeching onto the health care system.

I was not, I wasn't using it too much.

Like I I knew I had it, It was just such a relief to know that it does ever go wrong.

I have this opportunity to see a doctor without having any issues.

And so, you know, for a while, no one really had any issues, everyone was able to access health care, I was able to see the doctor and it was very smooth and easy.

It was in I believe 2018 and that we got the news that healthcare coverage would no longer be extended to international students.

It was a really stressful, devastating month I guess for a lot of international students in Manitoba because we, we didn't know what to do.

Like if health care was taken away before coming here, I don't think I really knew what it cost even visit a doctor.

So at that time when healthcare was taken away you have to like factor in all those extra expenses and it was not possible for any international student to be able to afford that on their own.

So of course student unions rallied around and university administration to find private health coverage which was kind of like a a solution I guess to that announcement that was made by the government and like you said, it's it's hard not to get political because the health care system in Canada and Manitoba is very, very much political.

So it's just happened that we were able to get the private funding and a lot of the cracks weren't really seen immediately because of course it was new.

We had private health care coverage and everyone was relieved like it was a sign of relief.

Okay, well this has been done.

We have private health coverage.

At least we don't have to pay out of pocket, but very quickly we started seeing like some of the issues slowly.

I know one of them was having to get a family doctor and a lot of the clinics some of the clinics would be like I can't direct Bill blue blue cross so you have to pay out of pockets and it's yeah, very devastating because like people don't have 100 and $20 to pay a doctor first and then get reimbursed later because that would take weeks and that's money out of your pocket that could have gone for food or for something else.

So it was a very minor inconvenience that we noticed like very quickly but it went on for years like students were struggling because now you have to think of if I go to the doctor I might have to pay out of pocket first but there are some clinics who don't ask you to pay out of pocket first but it depends also like getting a family doctor as you know in Canada.

It's very it's a very long process and sometimes you might get doctors that can direct Bill Blue cross and sometimes you might not get doctors who can do that.

So would you like rather be on the wait list again for another year waiting for a doctor who.

So yeah there was a lot of struggles with that but during the pandemic we did see a very huge crack to show us that you know private healthcare insurance is not really working as we all expected it or as we all hoped to work for it to work.

So there was a lot of issues that went on and that's where you get to go into the politics of health care.

But no thanks for the explanation.

Can I just maybe look at your personal experience?

So as you say, you've come from Nigeria, you come to Canada Winnipeg and you're studying, you're the university, you're an international student if you needed to go to see a doctor assuming that you you know that again there's sometimes a shortage of doctors but assuming that you were able to see a doctor at that time you were able to go and see a doctor, you would show your health card or your student card and you would be seen by a doctor and you would get looked after get treated and then you know you go back to to your regular life.

Is that I am I am I accurate with that.

Yes like it was just how any other person in Manitoba was accessing health care which was great.

Like you go you see a dog have the Manitoba health card which was really good, you just accept that every hospital accepts that.

So you never have any issue of like oh no you're an international student, I can't attend to you.

So it makes it easier and quicker for you to even get access to health care which was amazing.

And then the change Judith that you talked about was that when international students were no longer given a health card, you then had to seek private health insurance.

Yeah, this was like an effort with student unions and um university administrations, they had to find like private health care coverage because it's um yeah, like I said, it's impossible to stay here without any form of coverage because health care can be very expensive for sure.

And so was that done from an organization standpoint Judith that then, you know, you went to Blue cross or you went to a health care provider in that regard?

Was it done on behalf of the university international students or were you on your own or what was the process that allowed that to unfold?

Yeah, it was the negotiation, I believe that was done like by student leaders at that time.

And um with the help of the administration to find something.

So I'm not sure who went to who?

Yeah, fair enough.

You know, thank you for that.

I'm just obviously trying to get a sense of it from your personal experience.

So, now what situation do you have you been in this country for in the province in the city for as you say, up to six years, what do you have now for health coverage if you don't mind me asking last year I became prominent resident of Canada.

So I do have the Manitoba health card, which yeah, so yeah, but before then I was on the private health care plan.

And one of the things that you know when you look at the fact that the federal government of Canada has four years through transfer payments.

Been a big funder of provincial health care and provincial health care ministers oversee those budgets and when the federal government starts to cut the transfer payments and this is where you say it's hard not to get into politics, but you know, the provincial government then is responsible for administering the health care that they can to their citizens.

And I wanted to just come back to the title kind of of our of our podcast which we wanted to talk about which is universal health care coverage.

And I wanted to just get a sense from your perspective Judith when you hear universal health care coverage, do you automatically think about it being free or do you think that universal health care coverage should be accessible?

In other words you may have to have a fee to pay, but you can get access to it versus some countries in the in the world where I mean it's just not accessible at all.

Forget about having a cost to it.

And I hear universal health care coverage for me, I feel like accessibility is number one you should be able to have access to care, but when we're talking about accessing care, you have to also factor in that if care is expensive and you have a fee that's a barrier on its own.

So for me it has to be free and accessible because if you have to go to the clinic and they're telling and you have to pay a certain amount before you get access to healthcare, it's no longer like rights.

Um, and in order from a human rights perspective, the lens I do all my work in.

It's like it has to be free and accessible for everyone regardless of your, you know, status in the community so that you know that way people can access the care that they need whenever they need it.

Um, and one of the things Judith I think that is always part of the I'll just say the health care debate is, you know, the notion about health care being free.

I mean, you know, I just went to get my physical check up a week ago, I made an appointment.

I walked in, I saw my doctor got my annual checkup.

We shook hands.

We had a little conversation and I left in other words, there was no payment, There was nothing.

So you know, the notion of that exercise is that when there's no payment, it's free.

But when you step back and you realize that and again, this kind of comes to the political side of things that governments, they're the ones that have to through, you know collecting taxes from people that work, collecting taxes from various areas that go into the provincial treasury and then they decide how they're going to fund health care.

Is that the notion that the visit may be free.

But the cost of running health care is extraordinary.

I mean, it's such a, such a big number and I wonder sometimes if we do disservice if I could say it this way, Judith to the debate.

When we talk about free health care, I really do understand like, yes, health care is free for the people accessing it.

But yes, the government has to pay.

And um I'm really glad you brought that up because this is one of the myths that we've been trying to talk about with people in the media and community that whenever we are free and accessible health care where that international students free healthcare without contributing anything to the Canadian economy.

But that's not true because international students have been a very good part of our economy in Manitoba.

And in fact, the federal government alone is even recognizing their efforts and their hard work now because they're increasing their work hours from 20 hours a week to now 40 hours a week.

So they know that these people are contributing to the economy and that's why they're using them.

But the thing they're failing to understand is that it's not enough to just move the work hours from 20 to 40.

Like now they have to work more and go to school.

They have health challenges that Take care of.

So extending health care coverage would be very important to maintain like, you know, healthy mind body.

And so to be able to ask that the government has like, you know, it's expecting of them now with working 40 hours to cover the labor shortages all across Canada.

And also like everyone's paying taxes in Canada, all immigrants pay taxes like taxes is not something you can even escape.

So when we talk about the expense of, you know, other people having health care and some others don't like not paying taxes and everyone migrated at some point and we're all going to be able to pay our own dues to the tax system.

So it's very frustrating where I hear people in the community, well, we pay taxes and why should we be given extending health care to these people?

Because yeah, they're also paying taxes, they're paying taxes to their tuition, They're paying taxes by working part time and now they're expected to cover labor shortages.

So yeah, it is expensive.

But if we're also contributing to the system and to the economy, I think at this point, the only thing that would be the government can really do to make life a little bit easier because tuition is already expensive is to extend health care coverage.

A Couple of things that I just like to sort of come back to explain if you will the notion that that the federal government has moved, you mentioned it from 20 hours to 40 hours.

So can you explain what, what does that mean?

What impact does that have with respect to international students?

Yeah, so as an international student when I came you go to school full time and the government allow you 20 to work nationalists can work 20 hours a week and this can help you with your feeding and just well as like minor expenses that you would need so that your parents or sponsors can focus on paying the tuition, which was really helpful.

A lot of international students benefited from that, you know, and so students were paying taxes through that as well.

But no, with the label shortages all across Canada, the federal government has agreed To increase that work limit.

It was 20 hours before, but now they can work up to 40 hours a week.

Was that something that was fairly monitored?

I wasn't aware of that.

So I appreciate you sort of clarifying that.

But was somebody monitor the fact you could only work 20 hours.

Yes, I mean it was monitored to the extent it was monitored.

I am not, I do not have nation but seeing international students who have gotten into trouble more than they're supposed to.

So yeah, it probably would affect you later on.

It depends on, you know, news, there was a time where an international student Ontario that was driving a truck got caught for working more than 20 hours a week.

And so that affected his stay in Canada and there was a whole news about him possibly getting deported.

So yeah, there are cases like that where students get caught working more than 20 hours, but the monitoring aspect, I'm not sure how the federal government keeps track of that.

I was just curious to see, I mean, you know to your point, the notion that they've allowed international students to increase the number of hours from 20 to 40.

You know, hopefully it doesn't impact their studies, but I can, you know, you know full well there's such a shortage of labor in certain markets for certain areas.

It's incredible.

So restaurants are struggling because they don't have enough people to work there.

So hopefully that's a good opportunity for international students as I said, as long as it doesn't impact the reason they're here, which is for their studies.

And the other thing I should think it's worth pointing out Judith is that international students when they come to attend the university, I'd have to say in Canada, but we'll talk about Manitoba, their tuition fee is is extremely higher than what it is for a local resident here to attend at the university.

So you're paying a premium to come into the university which I understand from the university's perspective, it helps in terms of their budgeting, but that's another additional cost that international students have to bear.

It is another burden for international students and I know like when health care was taken away, let's go back to that.

The university understood the situation, it put a lot of international and because as a student you have to make your budget, your parents or whoever sponsoring you, you have to have a budget and because that announcement was so sudden the university had to even arrange for healthcare relief fund to help international students cover for I think part of the health care coverage that they had to pay and yeah you have to apply for it and it was not a random if you you get the relief fund but just to just show you how much expensive it is to come here and budgeting and everything and then having like suddenly health care taken away and that is getting added to the cost of tuition as well tuition also in Manitoba is going up every day every year like so with that and the cost of health care is going up as well, I know when it was taken away we were paying about $600 but the last time I checked is about $1000 now so everything is going up and I know it's information and everything.

Yeah, it's getting really expensive national student Yeah, no, I mean we could probably have a whole other podcast talking about inflation and being a student and you know the cost of what that means and how you, how you sort of navigate that as a somebody who spent time and you're, you're very passionate about having a voice at the table.

You're passionate about being an advocate, you're passionate about being a community organizer.

If somebody were to say to you, you gotta call say from the Minister of Health or the Premier to say Judith, what advice might you give government to make sure that we have proper universal health care for all knowing that there is the politics and the budget involved, Would you, would you be able to sort of provide your thoughts on that?

I feel that's a very tricky question.

I do not have the intel in terms of like being in the government to fully and it has to do with budget.

I know the government can provide that if they want to, it just has to do with like, you know, priorities and time and time again, I've seen the community, I think it's time for us to understand that health care should be a priority because I don't have a healthy population, you don't have, your economy is not going to flourish the earlier we realize that the better.

And so I would say like as a government, the first thing is to prioritize health care and make sure that we do have something that not just international students, but even like those who have access in Manitoba health care are struggling.

So it makes us wonder if, you know, health care is being prioritized if I do get a call like that, it would be like we need to prioritize health care in terms of what that looks like, it might have to do with, you know, it has to definitely go back to the federal government obviously because they have to also be able to release more funds for provinces, but I can't really fully answer that without knowing the budget that the Manitoba government is working.

Yeah, yeah, No, and again, not just appreciate your answers, so thank you very much and it was just really wanting to see, you know, from your perspective, you know, there's so many people that have advice around healthcare and one of the things Judith, I think that, you know frustrates the conversation if I could use that term, is that a lot of people talk about how much money we're putting into healthcare now and how much more money we put in from this last budget into health care.

And the numbers are big, the numbers are massive.

So there's an analysis on how much money we put in, but there never seems to be in an analysis on patient outcome.

How are our patient outcomes doing, you know, sort of measure what does that look like?

And it is a very complex subject matter, but I know that Canadians sometimes if you take their temperature on the surface, they're very proud of our health care system on the surface and you hear time and time again that it's hard to get in if you need care, but once you get inside the system you get amazing care from the people that work in the system and that is one of those areas that I think when you hear time and time again and you just wonder when you look at somebody from your perspective, you know, you've been in this country now for six years, you you have a degree, you're very active, you've got a voice, you've got a sense of leadership that we can't just keep going on with the status quo with health care because it's not about more money.

I don't think I just wonder if you could respond to those thoughts that I just shared.

Yeah, I do not have as much expect ease in that aspect to answer that question fully.

Right now, I do believe there's a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of like the health care system in Manitoba.

There have been a lot of things I've seen in terms of of course I don't agree with in terms of what should be done right now.

I'm not sure how they're prioritizing health care because just throwing more money at it.

It's not gonna do anything for us.

And for me it's more like where the money is being placed, I guess I've been seeing a rise in like agencies like privatization of a lot of healthcare work.

And of course it's helping to reduce the backlog and create more accessibility.

But it's a tough question to answer just right now on the call.

But um, yeah, there's a lot of work that needs to be done.

But my advice is that the government should send to community organizations, grassroots community organizations, ones doing the work, there is on the ground, the nurses, um, union, they're the ones that are working with patients on a daily basis.

They have in depth knowledge about the crisis and ways that that could be like, you know, mitigated.

So I feel like more conversation needs to be had at the grassroots level for the government to be able to move forward.

I think that's a great suggestion Judith and the other piece of course, that with all of the challenges of health care then along comes covid, you know, which has just been a tremendous burden on the frontline workers.

And you know, we we talk about that publicly, that we have to support our frontline workers who did an amazing job.

I'm not sure we we did a good job supporting them.

I mean a lot of conversation about it, but I have to say that, you know, I made a choice.

I wanted to get, you know, my covid vaccine.

And so I would have to say that that process that was set up here in Winnipeg my experience is they were amazing.

They were friendly, they were professional, they had a lot of challenges at the beginning trying to sort of navigate the system because there's so many people trying to get into it.

But I mean, I think that's just natural and I think people here in in Manitoba, you know, there's always gonna be people that are not happy about something Judith, but overall, and I would just speak on behalf of myself.

I thought that the process worked extremely well.

Yeah, I mean, the progress overall was amazing.

I mean, the nurses are amazing.

The healthcare workers in Manitoba were awesome and they've been doing a great job.

I mean, they were thrown into, they were thrown into this whole pandemic without very much resources.

And at a time where there had been a lot of cuts to health care, like closing a lot of, er, and we were working with only a few and they really rallied around and did an amazing job to you utilized a few resources they have.

But um, when we talk about the process of the pandemic, I mean, it was helpful, but was it equitable and accessible to everyone?

That's where my question comes back.

You know, I mean, immigrants had a hard time, refugees, international students had a hard time accessing covid related health care for a while and they also had a hard time even accessing the vaccine and getting vaccine passport, but due to, like, you know, grassroots advocacy from organizations and have worked with in the past, we were able to get some wins from the government.

But I think like the government needs to do a lot more.

I mean in Ontario health care was most immigrants were able to access a lot of care during the pandemic and it wasn't so for Manitoba's because we saw an international had a mental health problem and it was during in the middle of the pandemic, where you would think that that should be something that would be covered as a, you know, covid related illness, just being in the pandemic and a lot of Manitoba's struggle, like we all go through like the pandemic with some form of mental illness problem or the other.

So Just having that person being charged over $40,000, almost almost $40,000 in hospital bill is another barrier that um a lot of immigrants, international students, refugees had to face during the pandemic.

And those are just the people that were brave enough to say their stories.

Um yeah so Judith sorry, I just don't want to make sure that I'm understanding what you're saying is that there were international students or immigrants In Manitoba that had to pay, did you say $40,000 for a hospital stay?

Yes, the bill was almost 40,000.

That over 30,000, I would say in terms of hospital bill and they were experiencing some, you know, mental health challenges during the pandemic and instead of being at home and getting worse, decided to go seek help and after being in the hospital for nine days they were charged over 30,000 in hospital bills.

So did they give that to them as they were leaving the hospital or how did that work out or are you aware of that process?

It wasn't given to them as they left the hospital.

I haven't heard them do that, but you'd get a meal a letter at least to tell you this is how much you're going and um yeah, so getting that letter is enough on its own, it's like very devastating to have to, you know, relieve that experience of you know having that challenge and now putting yourself in that much debt.

So and that's not the only case.

There were a lot of case that came out of the pandemic.

A lot of them we could spend another hour talking about each and every case.

But yeah and that's simply because they were immigrants and did not have a Manitoba health card.

Yes, they were an international student and didn't have many health caribbean and they didn't have the ability to have private care.

Also at that point a lot of people were in between my courses or in between universities so things happened.

Um that could have warranted them being like, you know uninsured for like not being able to access the private health care insurance because that is tied to the enrollment in the university, which is another layer of accessibility or Yeah, I just want to come back to your comment earlier when you talked about accessibility of healthcare and making sure that it's, it's accessible to to everyone and when you look at it particularly as a human right?

Yes.

And that just showed that it wasn't.

Yeah, I mean Judith one thing that you have done is, you know, through the various organizations that you've taken leadership role, whether it's the Nigerian community, bringing them together and creating that community or whether it's been out advocating, uh, went on a campaign with the Canadian Federation of Students.

You are somebody who has a belief and you take your time and you add your voice to it along with others.

And I think I would make this comment that I um, I thought it was an interesting comment that it it really goes to the power of advocacy or education and somebody said that, you know, if you have pride with the current system, if whatever that system, maybe we're talking health care, universal health care coverage.

If you have pride in that system, you should never be afraid to challenge it to try to see if you can make it better.

And I think that's what you're advocating.

Yes, exactly.

Um, yeah, the system could be better.

It could be better for everyone, every one of us that are here and that's what we want to see, that's the ultimate goal to make sure we all have the same access and we can access and healthcare whenever we want.

So yeah, just trying to make it better all the time.

So Judith Jameson, you've been a great guest today.

I but I want to leave kind of the last word to you just, what are you working on?

I mean, you're a community organizer, you're an advocate.

Is there anything you want to share that you're working on right now?

Or maybe there's a couple of things that you're working on.

There's a couple of things that I'm working on, but one that I'm really excited about is the alliance of gender justice in migration.

It's um kind of a project that is funded by Women equality Canada and this project is looking at immigration and adding a feminist intersectional perspective to it to make sure that immigrant women are able to access services and immigration services most especially whenever, because there's been a lot of issues in terms of like women trying to access those services in Canada.

So yeah, I'm really excited to do that work.

It's a pan Canadian tax force.

We do have organizations all across in B.

C.

Ontario Quebec and Manitoba and we're working to make sure that we center the voices of women with lived experiences and that sounds fantastic and I'll ask you if you would send me something on that.

So, you know, when I put the podcast up, I'd like to make a reference to that.

So if people are interested in finding out more about it, maybe specifically share what it is that are you working with this?

Because it's you're trying to sort of change federal legislation or provincial legislation or both.

Doing this is more of a federal, immigration is first and foremost federal before it's even provincial.

We do have some provincial immigration policies like the Manitoba provincial nominee, so we we still hope to influence that as well.

But the focus is more of like a federal light because we have a lot of women that come here and experience gender based violence and but because they are tied to the spousal Visa sponsorship, they have a hard time and there's a process around but we're trying to evaluate how accessible that is for women and there's a lot of like all that we've seen that have tried to go through that process and have experienced a lot of issues, so making the process as easy as possible, it's kind of the goal here.

Well that's great.

Yeah, no thanks for sharing.

I can only say that at some juncture having just met you that I would look forward to having you on again on this podcast to talk about those issues because the whole purpose of this podcast is really to talk about human rights, humans on rights, talk about advocate, talk about education and that's really uh sort of very strong and right in your wheelhouse Judith.

So thank you very much for spending some time with me this afternoon and if there was one thing you wanted to to leave anybody that's listening to this podcast about you know, universal health care coverage, what would that be?

We need a team that works for all of us.

So I do encourage everyone that's listening to join us in this so that every Mac and access healthcare with the fear of you know being deported or fear of being in show hardship.

I'm looking forward.

And also aside from just this, it's also a very good time for us to also remember indigenous sisters with the recent news in Manitoba.

I think that the workers can be done alone, like we have to stand with indigenous women in Manitoba and across Canada in this fight as well.

So yeah, Judith obvious.

Um thank you so much for being on this podcast.

I appreciate your time.

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to humans on writes a transcript of this episode is available by clicking the link in the show notes of this episode.

Humans on Rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart Murray.

Social media marketing by Buffy Davey.

Music by Doug Edmund for more go to human rights hub dot C a produced and distributed by the sound off media company.

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