Submission to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada on Medical Inadmissibility

In April 2021, HALCO and the HIV Legal Network wrote to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada about medical inadmissibility regime in Canada’s immigration system. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”), foreign nationals are inadmissible to Canada if their health condition might reasonably be expected to cause an “excessive demand” on health or social services, or if their application to immigrate includes a family member in this situation. This does not apply to refugees and protected persons, their spouses, common-law partners and dependent children as well as spouses, common-law partners and dependent children sponsored through family class sponsorships. While changes to increase the cost threshold (to three times the current level of $6,655 per year) for defining what constitutes “excessive demand” are welcome, the entire medical inadmissibility regime must be repealed. As noted in our current submission:

“While the public policy changes made in 2018 to excessive demand in relation to medical inadmissibility — and in particular the decision to raise the threshold by threefold — are a step in the right direction (as are the proposed regulations to codify the 2018 policy), the excessive demand regime (i) still violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”); (ii) contributes to stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities, including people living with HIV; (iii) is inconsistent with international human rights law and Canada’s obligations pursuant to such law; (iv) is a cumbersome and inefficient process to administer; and (v) undermines the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”). Incremental changes will not resolve these problems. As we have consistently recommended, we urge the Government of Canada to repeal the excessive demand regime altogether. This is aligned with the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to eliminate the policy.”

See here for the submission.

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