Groups call for repeal of medical inadmissibility rule for immigrants in Canada

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  • Organizations representing key groups of immigrants excluded from Canada due to medical inadmissibility are very disappointed in the announcement on April 16 by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen for not repealing Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

    This section of the immigration law denies permanent residency to an entire family if a member of the family is sick or has a disability and deemed to pose an “excessive demand” on health and social services.

    In a media release, the groups said that it’s time to end these discriminatory laws.

    “Our advocacy resulted in a review by the federal Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in 2017, which ultimately echoed our recommendation for a full repeal. Instead of taking this principled position, the Immigration Minister Hussen today [April 16] announced only minor tweaks to the existing, and deeply flawed, regime,” the media release states.

    The groups are the Caregivers Action Centre, Council of Canadians With Disabilities, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and the Migrant Workers Centre.

    “Today’s announcement continues to uphold discriminatory medical inadmissibility laws. Today’s changes that promise to increase the cost threshold and amend the definition of social services, if properly implemented, may ensure that many future immigrants living with HIV and some people with disabilities may no longer be excluded,” according to the media release.

    “However, the underlying issue remains: people with disabilities continue to be considered as burdens on Canadian society. Today’s announcement also fails to address retroactive cases, such that all of the applicants currently in Canada who are separated from family members with disabilities remain in limbo.

    “It is important to note that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, which recommended the repeal of the law in late 2017, noted that “savings [from this law] are not known and were not provided to the Committee.” The Government of Canada, while explicitly agreeing with the Standing Committee’s recommendation to repeal this legislation, has failed to bring its policies in line with inclusivity for persons with disabilities and with Canada’s domestic and international human rights obligations,” the media release states.

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