Immigration Canada 'breaking the law,' when denying some disabled applicants, say legal experts

Posted
August 29, 2017
Article Source
Global News

Families looking to become Canadian permanent residents are being unfairly rejected by immigration officials, say legal experts, and in some cases the federal government may be breaking the law.

The consequence can be devastating for families trying to move to Canada.

The issue involves the government’s failure to provide specific cost estimates in “procedural fairness letters” given to people who could be denied due to so-called “medical inadmissibility.”

Immigration Canada uses these letters to explain to applicants why their application might be denied. Applicants then have a chance to respond to the letter in defence of their case.

In each of these cases, the applicant – or someone in their family – has a medical condition or disability the government says might place “excessive demand” upon Canada’s publicly-funded health and social services.

According to immigration lawyers – as well as the Canadian Bar Association – the law requires that all procedural fairness letters clearly outline the government’s concerns with respect to an applicant’s medical condition or disability. This includes producing a list of all health and social services an applicant will use once in Canada, and then calculating the “likely cost” of these services.

But as a Global News investigation into medical inadmissibility has discovered, immigration officials often fail to provide applicants with any sort of cost estimate during this process. Instead, they simply list the services the applicant may require without providing any detail on why the government thinks the costs will be excessive.

According to lawyers, this is a fundamental breach of applicants’ rights and proof some immigration officials do not fully understand the law they’ve been tasked to enforce.

“[Immigration Canada] is breaking the law,” said Adrienne Smith, a Toronto-area immigration lawyer and former analyst at Immigration Canada. “The Federal Court of Appeal has been very clear, that an officer who’s assessing medical inadmissibility has to provide the cost of the medical or social services.”

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