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Medical Conditions That Can Prevent You From Entering Canada

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Inadmissibility Issues and Waivers and Medical Inadmissibility

Medical Conditions That Can Prevent You From Entering Canada

There are medical conditions that can make someone medically inadmissible to enter Canada and live in Canada on a permanent basis. On June 1, 2018, IRCC made significant changes to the medical inadmissibility rules in Canada to increase the cost threshold for a condition to be considered an excessive demand on the Canadian healthcare system. As a result, many individuals and families, especially those with disabilities, may no longer be considered medically inadmissible to Canada.

Medical inadmissibility rules apply to everyone who wants to visit, work in or move to Canada. Someone can be declared medically inadmissible on 3 grounds:

  • Danger to public health
  • Danger to public safety
  • Excessive demand on health or social services

What is Excessive Demand On Canada's Public Health Care System?

If IRCC determines that your condition will pose an excessive demand on Canada’s public health care system, you may be declared medically inadmissible to be admitted to Canada.

Members of the family class (i.e., sponsorship of a spouse, partner or dependent child) are exempt from the “excessive demand” test, as are refugees. If a sponsored spouse, partner or child will pose an excessive demand on the Canadian public health care system, they can still be admitted to Canada.

A “sponsored” spouse, partner or child means that one spouse is already a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and has made an application to sponsor a family member for permanent residence as well.

Threshold for Excessive Demand

“Excessive demand” is considered to be any condition where certain financial demands will be placed on health or social service costs (and social service includes home care, special education services, rehabilitation services, devices, and so forth paid by a government agency).

The dollar amount determined to place excessive demand on health or services changes annually.

Under the new policy, the cost threshold amount is increased annually. The new amount is now three times the Canadian average cost for health and social services. This amount is updated every year, based on the latest Canadian average.

2019 cost threshold
$102,585 over 5 years (or $20,517 per year)

As a result, many applicants who would have been previously inadmissible, such as those with conditions that require publicly funded prescription drugs, may now be considered admissible to Canada as the cost of their medications would typically not exceed the new cost threshold.

The Canadian Government is reviewing the medical inadmissibility provisions. The Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration had previously recommended the elimination of the entire policy. The Government has agreed to work with provinces and territories to eventually eliminate the policy.

If your medical care will exceed the annual excessive demand amount, then you will be determined to be placing excessive demand on the system. Visa officers use doctor’s medical reports to determine if your condition will place an excessive demand on Canada's health or social services.

Danger to Public Health or Public Safety

If your medical condition poses a danger to Canada's public health or safety, you will not be admitted to Canada. It is extremely rare for an individual to be denied entry as a danger to public health or safety.

There are no lists of conditions that are considered to pose a danger to public health and safety – it is determined on a case by case basis. IRCC considers your risk of:

  • sudden incapacity (loss of physical and mental abilities)
  • unpredictable or violent behaviour

The visa officer will evaluate your medical records to determine if your condition will pose a danger to public health or safety.

If your immigration application is denied based on medical inadmissibility, you can appeal that decision. There is no guarantee of success, but our immigration law team at Ackah Law has the knowledge and resources to appeal your case.

This post does not constitute legal advice – you should consult with a lawyer so he or she can evaluate your unique circumstances and application materials.


Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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