Liberals to scrap policy that rejects sick, disabled immigrants

November 23, 2017

Canada is committed to ditching a policy that rejects immigrants because they're sick or disabled and could be a drag on the health system, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says.

Calling it an "important and sensitive" issue, Hussen said the government will look at all options to revamp the 40-year-old policy, which bars entry to applicants when they could be costly to public health or social service systems.

"From a principled perspective, the current excessive demand provision policy simply does not align with our country's values of inclusion of person with disabilities in Canadian society," he said during an appearance at the House of Commons immigration committee Wednesday.

Hussen didn't say how the provision would be changed, but said repealing it entirely is one option on the table.

He said the policy is currently estimated to save about $135 million for a five-year period of medical costs, which represents about 0.1 per cent of all provincial and territorial health spending.

During consultations with provinces, he said most support a policy review, but some are a bit "apprehensive" about potential costs they may have to incur.

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