Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada on health grounds if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause an “excessive demand” on health or social services, or if they have an inadmissible family member (spouse or dependent child). Due to the high cost of antiretroviral medications, people living with HIV are generally deemed medically inadmissible. There are exemptions for Convention refugees, protected persons and their accompanying spouses and dependent children, as well as spousal sponsorships and dependent children who are sponsored by their parents.
On November 20, 2017, Meagan Johnston (staff lawyer at HALCO) and Maurice Tomlinson (Senior Policy Analyst at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network) made joint submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration supporting the repeal of the Government of Canada’s policy on medical inadmissibility of immigrants.
On December 13, 2017, the Standing Committee presented its Fifteenth report, which recommends repealing the regime. HALCO applauds the Committee for making this recommendation.
You can read the Standing Committee report on the government of Canada website:
- English: www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/CIMM/report-15
- Français: www.noscommunes.ca/DocumentViewer/fr/42-1/CIMM/rapport-15
You can read the HALCO / Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network joint submissions on our website:
- English: www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Immigration-Medical-Inadmissibility-brief-HALCO-LegalNetwork-2017Nov.pdf
- Français: www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Immigration-Medical-Inadmissibility-brief-HALCO-LegalNetwork-2017Nov-FR.pdf
The submissions argue that the excessive demand regime should be repealed because it:
- violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
- contributes to stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV,
- is inconsistent with international law and the practice of other countries is a cumbersome, and inefficient process to administer, and
- undermines the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
HALCO provides free legal services for people living with HIV in Ontario. If you are living with HIV in Ontario and have questions about immigration or other legal issues, please contact us for free legal advice.