Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen makes an announcement on Canada's medical inadmissibility policy amendment

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen makes an announcement on medical inadmissibility in the foyer of the House of Commons on April 16, 2018. (Source: Twitter)

For individuals with disabilities, medical inadmissibility has been a potential roadblock while applying for temporary or permanent residency. To align the medical inadmissibility policy with Canada’s 21st century outlook, the Canadian government has amended the policy. These changes are intended to update the 40-year-old policy and allow for individuals who otherwise would be able to immigrate to bring their skills to the country. The changes cover two main factors:

  • Adjusting the maximum cost for medical inadmissibility to 3 times the previous level
  • Amending the definition of social services by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services.

“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,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. Making changes to the cost threshold is an adjustment that will eliminate the majority of medical inadmissibility cases seen in Canada. This will benefit individuals who have low health and social services costs. The amendment to the social services definition is helpful to those with intellectual disabilities, applicants with hearing or visual impairments, and others.

“While there is always more work to do, this policy is an important next step for full inclusion of people with disabilities. Today’s changes are long overdue and ensure more families are welcome in Canada,” said Persons With Disabilities Minister Kirsty Duncan. Every year, approximately 1,000 permanent and temporary resident applicants receive a medical inadmissibility finding, which is only 0.2% of applicants who undergo medical screening. In 2015, the savings to provinces and territories due to the medical inadmissibility policy represented just 0.1% of all publicly funded health spending in Canada.