Canada makes changes to medical inadmissibility policy

Canada has made changes to its medical inadmissibility policy to make it more inclusive for people with disabilities.

All applicants for Canadian permanent residence must undertake a medical as part of the immigration policy. Applicants could be found medically inadmissible to Canada based on a set of criteria established more than 40 years ago.

While no health condition leads to automatic inadmissibility, applicants could be found inadmissible if the services required to treat their health condition or that of an accompanying dependent is anticipated to cost more than the annual cost threshold, which, for 2017, is CDN$6,655 per year and CDN$33,275 over five years.

While the number of refusals under this provision was not high, it did result in cases where applicants or their children were refused despite the fact their health condition or disability was one readily accommodated in Canadian society.

The new policy on medical inadmissibility strikes a balance between protecting publicly funded health and social services and updating the policy to bring it in line with current views on the inclusion of persons with disabilities. The changes include:

– Increasing the cost threshold for medical inadmissibility to 3 times the previous level; and

– Amending the definition of social services by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services.

Increasing the cost threshold will facilitate immigration for applicants with health conditions that typically require a limited range of health and social services and have relatively low health and social services costs. It is expected that this would dispense with a majority of the medical inadmissibility cases seen in Canada today.

“The changes we are announcing today are a major step forward in ensuring our immigration system is more inclusive of persons with disabilities, and reflects the values of Canadians,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Immigration Minister.

Article published 19th April 2018