SFU Admin has agreed to a system to pay the required premiums for MSP that international students are being charged, retroactively from September 1, 2019 and going forward as well. This will mean hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to international student TAs, TMs, and SIs. Let’s fight in the future to get all TSSU members, including RAs and GFs, covered too. This victory came because we used our collective power through both organizing and advocacy. We did it together!

The settlement has two key parts:

  • Invoices from Sept 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 will need to be submitted to SFU by March 31, 2020 and you will be retroactively reimbursed by SFU Admin with payments to come by July 31, 2020. 
  • From April 1, 2020 onwards those still being charged premiums for MSP will be able to enroll in a group plan through SFU, who will pay their bills just like under the old system.

*Make sure you enrol in the group plan, get the MSP group application form at tssu.ca/benefits and email it to benefits@sfu.ca with your valid study permit.
*Many more details on these processes will follow in the coming weeks from both SFU Admin and TSSU. 

Important change regarding current bills and potential late fees:

We tried, but we were unable to win a process to cover any late fees or other costs. SFU has agreed to contact Revenue Services BC as soon as possible to notify them of the individuals who will receive retroactive reimbursements, but they cannot guarantee that Revenue Services BC will not levy late fees or penalties. We recommend that you take action as soon as possible to ensure you are not charged any late fees or penalties. 

A) You have the resources to pay now:
We strongly recommend you pay the bills up until March 31, 2020. This will ensure you do not receive any penalties. Please ensure you keep all your invoices as you will need to submit these to SFU once instructions follow. 

If you want to pay your bill, you can do so online by going to: https://billing-and-payment.revenueservicesbc.gov.bc.ca/

Choose “International Student Health Fee” and enter your account number on your MSP bill to pay with a credit card online.

OR

  1. Create a login, you will need to verify your email
  2. Add an account  of type “International Student Health Fee” 
  3. Pay the bill using a credit card

Unlike the previous system, there are currently no e-bills online for this portion of the MSP premium. This is confusing, but you can still just pay the bill and amount directly.

B) You cannot afford to pay the bill and wait until July 31, 2020 for your money from SFU:
Here are some options to help limit your risk of late fees or penalties:

  1. Contact Revenue Services BC to let them know of your situation. Payment plans are possible and this will avoid any penalties.
  2. Please let us know and we can assist you with advocating via the provincial government to not have late fees levied. 

Background on “Health Coverage Fee”

The BC Government announced it would eliminate MSP fees for BC residents, effective January 1, 2020.  In August 2019, they announced that international students would still have to pay for MSP, and it would be branded as the “Health Coverage fee” and billed individually to students. 

This portion of the premium for MSP was phased in:

  • $37.50 per month starting Sept. 1, 2019
  • $75.00 per month starting Jan. 1, 2020

The Government told us that the fee is just one part of a total premium for MSP, this is confirmed by the written regulation. The government also published a FAQ. TSSU has a history of fighting for free public health care for all residents of BC, including international students.

  • In the 1980’s TSSU members fought to be included in public health care and won in court. Now all BC residents, including international students are covered.
  • In the 1990’s we fought to have SFU pay the costs for MSP coverage, which is now 100% paid for Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessional Instructors, etc.
  • In the 2010’s, SFU brought in Guard.me, charging high fees for lesser service and TSSU fought and won $120,000+ back for TSSU members, and a 30% cut in the price for everyone.