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By: Evelyn Ackah, Immigration Lawyer 

The Canadian government has announced major changes to Canada’s immigration policy for people with disabilities. Currently, foreign nationals are deemed medically inadmissible to Canada on health grounds if their condition is expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services over a period of five consecutive years.

On April 16, 2018, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein announced IRCC medical inadmissibility changes that take effect immediately:

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.

–  The Honourable Ahmed Hussein, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship

The IRCC press release announcing Canada’s new immigration policy for persons with disabilities says the new rules “better align with Canadian values” and that the old rules were “out of step with a 21st-century approach to persons with disabilities:”

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.

Canada’s new medical inadmissibility rules include:

  • children with intellectual disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome will no longer be denied due to special education needs and another social service spending that could be required once they arrive in Canada
  • increasing 3 times the cost threshold used to deny applicants whose medical conditions could result in health-care costs once they arrive in Canada from the current $6,655 to $20,000

Opponents of the old medical inadmissibility rules charged that they are discriminatory and oppose Canada’s immigration platform to keep families together.

Evelyn Ackah is the Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law. She has been practicing law since 1999 and brings her passion and knowledge for immigration law to her corporate and individual clients from all over the world. 

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