Canada’s immigration rules include an inhumane 40-year old medical inadmissibility act that tries to ensure immigration applicants to Canada do not cause “excessive demand” on publicly funded health and social service programs, say Canada disabilities activists.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told the Canada House of Commons immigration committee this is an "important and sensitive" issue and said,
"From a principled perspective, the current excessive demand provision policy simply does not align with our country's values of inclusion of person with disabilities in Canadian society."
The policy is estimated to save about $135 million over a five-year period of medical costs, about 0.1% of all provincial and territorial health spending. Human rights groups and opponents of the current policy believe it is discriminatory based on international human rights treaties. In addition, opponents say immigration officers do not apply rules consistently, and further training is required.
The current immigration medical inadmissibility does not factor in a person's willingness or ability to pay for health services because there is presently no cost-recovery system in place. Those denied admission due to excessive demand exceeded Immigration Canada's average individual health and social services usage guideline of $6,655 annually.
Immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains,
"Managing costs is an important factor the government considers when assessing immigration applicants. Balancing cost is our countries values of family unification. Especially when families and children are involved, it's vital fair and reasonable standards that do not discriminate be given to the immigration officers who are evaluating the cases."
At the November 23 committee meeting John Rae, a vice chair of the council, said “Disability is the last major characteristic that remains a barrier to settling and building a life in Canada, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities believes this provision is outdated and discriminatory and must be removed from the (Immigration) Act.”