Many immigrants applying for permanent residency have been denied due to the fact that their medical condition could cause excessive demand on Canada’s health and social services. This is a nightmare for most immigrants battling with various forms of medical conditions.
Children living with mental health conditions and learning disability and people with hereditary diseases like HIV, Diabetes and other long-term diseases that require constant medication have seen their applications rejected.
However, due to public outcry and scrutiny by organizations calling for the end against discriminating people with medical conditions has prompted the Canadian government to have a re-think against the policy. In December 2017, Canada’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration recommended a repeal of the policy, after extensive research, hearings and negotiations. Over the past two years, the Federal government has consulted extensively with its provincial counterparts has determined the best part way to address the policy.
The new policy as announced by Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship will see the current cost threshold of CAD 6,655 for medical inadmissibility increased three times for foreign nationals.
The new policy will also amend the definition of ‘social services’ by removing references to special education, vocational and social rehabilitation services and personal support services. This new policy will enable many families with children with intellectual disabilities who were deemed medically inadmissible to Canada to have a high chance of getting the application approved.
A parliamentary committee recommended these policy changes which was agreed to by the Federal government. Although the next legislative steps for full implementation are not clear yet. It is expected that communication synergy between the federal and provincial governments will be required for full implementation of the policy and also to determine how the additional cost will be managed.
The full elimination of the medical inadmissibility policy through collaboration by the Federal and provincial governments will see the following changes:
- The review of Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada’s departmental procedures and products to facilitate the application process and ensure clear communication with foreign nationals
- The centralization of medical inadmissibility applications to one office to increase consistency and efficiency in decision-making
- The ongoing training of adjudicators and medical officers to support these changes