Change in medical inadmissibility requirements for Canada immigration

Posted on April 17, 2018

On 16, April 2018 the Government of Canada announced its plans to relax the inadmissibility restrictions for immigration applicants with selective medical conditions or disabilities. This means that candidates undergoing drug treatment for diseases like HIV and children with any medical disability like autism will experience more relaxed requirements. The changes we are announcing today are a major step forward in ensuring our immigration system is more inclusive of persons with disability, and reflects the values of Canadians,” says Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

The government also says that while it has not eliminated the medical inadmissibility provision altogether, it remains a future goal and measures and being drafted to completely eliminate this policy.

What is the medical inadmissibility policy?

According to the Canada Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), applicants of immigration may be refused of applying if they or one of their family members have a medical condition that may cause an excessive demand on Canada’s health care and social service system. According to IRCC, approximately 1,000 applicants for permanent or temporary residence are ruled inadmissible for medical reasons each year, or 0.2 per cent of all applicants who undergo medical screening. The savings from this ruling amounted to 0.1 per cent of all publicly funded health spending in Canada.

This excessive demand policy made immigration difficult for people with medical conditions. As applicants with diabetes, HIV or any long term conditions that require regular prescription drug treatment have often been refused to immigrate majorly due to the cost of their drugs. Also parents have children with mental health conditions and learning difficulties have faced rejected applications as such children require extra assistance in their day to day schooling.  

Over the years, this policy has been heavily criticized by many groups. They believe that Canada has been unfair towards several humans with such medical conditions and living disabilities. After successive hearings, research and negotiations, in December 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Canada recommended a repeal of this policy. Since the start of 2018, the Federal Government has been in consultation with is provincial counterparts to determine the best alternative solution for this policy concerns.

Before these changes were announced, excessive demand was considered if the healthcare threshold of a respective being reached over $6,655 CAD annually or $33,275 over five years. In a case that they were found exceeding this threshold, their application would be rejected on grounds of medical inadmissibility. But, the new announcement has declared threshold as $19,965 per year.

 “The change will effective dispense with the majority of medical inadmissibility cases seen in Canada today, says IRCC in this context.

Also, the IRCC said that it is amending the definition of social services. References to special education, vocational, social rehab services and personal support services may be removed. This amendment would benefit applicants with hearing and visual impairments. According to IRCC, approximately 1,000 applicants for permanent or temporary residence are ruled inadmissible for medical reasons each year, or 0.2 per cent of all applicants who undergo medical screening. The savings from this ruling amounted to 0.1 per cent of all publicly funded health spending in Canada.