Ottawa-born man facing deportation says OHIP coverage has been revoked

CFRA, 26 November 2014, Alison Sandor

There’s a new hurdle in the case of an Ottawa-born and raised man who is facing deportation.

Deepan Budlakoti said he is now being denied OHIP coverage, even though he has an Ontario birth certificate and had been issued a Canadian passport in 2003.

Budlakoti’s parents were working at the Indian High Commission around the time of his birth. He said they had stopped working for the High Commission prior to his birth.

That passport was revoked when he was convicted on drugs and firearms charges in 2010. He was told at the time that he was not a Canadian citizen and is now fighting that decision in Federal Court.

He said he recently discovered his health card was no longer valid during a trip to the doctor.

“When I asked what happened they basically told me they had gotten confirmation from the Minister [of Citizenship and Immigration’s] office saying that I’m not a Citizen,” he said, adding when he called OHIP they told them he was no longer eligible for their services.

He said the federal government is trying to make an example of him.

“Essentially, if they’re able to take away my citizenship and render me stateless, it sets a new precedence in Canada,” he said. “They can essentially say that ‘Oh, we choose this person is no longer suitable for our community, we can say that he’s no longer a citizen’ and take away his citizenship and render this person either stateless or deport this person back to not their homeland, but their parent’s homeland or their grandparents’ homeland.”

Budlakoti is in the midst of appealing his deportation and the decision to revoke his OHIP coverage.

He grew up here in Canada and says he’s served his sentence for the criminal charges, and just wants to move on.

Budlakoti said he is currently applying for health insurance. He has set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help cover the costs.