Federal government to relax restrictions on immigration applicants with disabilities

April 16, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

Ottawa will relax its restrictions on immigration applicants with disabilities so the demand they pose on Canada's medical and social services would not prevent them from immigrating to the country.

On Monday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced he will update the 40-year-old policy that bars prospective immigrants deemed medically inadmissible to Canada, as part of the Liberal government's mandate to build an inclusive society.

Under the current law, medical demand is found to be excessive if it exceeds the average annual health care costs for a Canadian, which is estimated at $6,655. The proposed changes would raise the cost threshold for medical inadmissibility to three times that level and remove references to special education, social and vocational services and personal support services needed by the applicants.

"The changes we are announcing today are a major step forward in ensuring our immigration system is more inclusive of persons with disabilities, and reflect the values of Canadians," said Hussen in Ottawa.

"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 Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Diabilities.

According to the Immigration Department, about 1,000 permanent and temporary resident applicants are found to be medically inadmissible due to "excessive" demand on health care and social services. This represents 0.2 per cent of all applicants who undergo medical screening.

Read more: Ottawa to relax restrictions on immigration applicants with disabilities