Many years ago, CUPE 3903 negotiated a fund that would provide international student members with financial assistance for University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) costs. We have also been assisting with the UHIP costs of people who are considered ‘dependents’ of our international student members. (Article 15.20 of the Unit 1 Collective Agreement or “CA”). Please continue reading for more information on UHIP and accessing these funds.
York University requires all international students to register for the mandatory University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), which provides basic medical health coverage including emergency hospital visits and physicians fees. The cost is about $636 this year.
International students who are CUPE 3903 members should have received a full refund for the costs of UHIP.
This refund normally shows up on student accounts no later than November 1st in first semester and no later than March 1st for Unit 1 and 3 international student members who register at York in January 2020.
‘Dependents’ of international student members should also receive financial assistance.
‘Dependents’ may include a partner or spouse and/or children. International students can register dependents by visiting the York International Office during drop-in hours of Tues 1pm-4pm and Thurs 9am-12pm along with their dependents’ passports and permits to apply. Alternatively, they can send an email to Sumanpreet Kaur, UHIP Administrator at email@example.com.
More details for how to register dependents with York International can be found here: https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/uhip/.
What if you’re an international student member and you and/or your dependents haven’t been reimbursed?
If you are in CUPE 3903 Units 1 or 3 and you were enrolled as of September 1st but you have not received a UHIP reimbursement on your student account for your UHIP costs or that of your dependent, please contact your Chief Steward for assistance.
Why CUPE 3903 fought for UHIP reimbursement
International students attending university in Ontario used to be covered by OHIP like all other Ontarians but in 1994, they were removed from eligibility. These costs combined with international tuition fees (which are substantially higher than the tuition paid by domestic students) contribute to making post secondary education for international students in Ontario much less accessible.
In other provinces, international students are eligible for coverage under publicly funded provincial health care plans.
In recognition of the additional financial burdens facing York international students who now had to to pay for UHIP, CUPE 3903 negotiated a fund for our international student members to ensure that they would not have to bear the brunt of these costs on their own.
Through contract negotiations CUPE 3903 can only secure funds for our own members but we continue to fight alongside other groups across the province for fairness for international students. For more information and to take action on this issue, please visit the link below from the Canadian Federation of Students, which includes a petition supporting OHIP coverage for international students: https://www.ohipfairness.ca/
International student members who wish to advocate for and advance the needs and issues facing international students, should consider joining the CUPE 3903 International Graduate Student Committee. The committee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.