You’re looking for a better life and you’ve decided on the great country of Canada. You’ve meticulously gone over your application, filled out the relevant forms and paperwork, and practiced your interview answers—imagine coming this far only to be told by an immigration officer that you are inadmissible to Canada due to your health.
So what can cause someone be barred from entering Canada due to their health? There are two possible reasons:
- If your condition is a danger to public health or safety
- If your condition might cause excessive demand on health or social services
(And if you’ve already been rejected on health grounds or if you think you’re definitely going to be disqualified, don’t give up just yet. We’ll also go over how to appeal the decision and get you to your new home.)
The Immigration Medical Examination (IME)
All resident applicants (both temporary and permanent) and refugees must submit to an Immigration Medical Examination (or IME). The IME typically includes a physical and mental examination, a review of past medical history, as well as some other laboratory and diagnostic tests.
The results from your IME will be examined by medical and immigration officers and used to determine if you are admissible based on your health.
Only physicians licensed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada can conduct the IME. If you are unable to find a licensed physician, within 250km of your residence, you can request a special alternate medical practitioner to test you.
Are You a Danger to Public Health or Safety?
There are two reasons you can be deemed a danger to public health or safety:
- For public health: if you are affected by a communicable disease that can be spread to other persons living in Canada.
For example, active pulmonary tuberculosis and untreated syphilis are both consider a danger to public health.
- For public safety: if you are affected by a condition that can make you unpredictable or violent to other persons living in Canada.
For example, certain impulsive sociopathic behavior disorders or paranoid states are both considered a danger to public safety.
Will You Cause Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services?
There are also two reasons you can be deemed to cause excessive demand on health or social services:
- If your impact on Canadian health and social services will exceed the average Canadian per capita health and social services over five consecutive years, unless the cost of your impact are likely to be incurred beyond that period, in which case the period is no more than 10 consecutive years.
As of December, 2015, the cost threshold is $6,450 per year.
- If your impact on Canadian health and social services will add to existing waiting lists and increase the chance of death or disease for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
There is a bit more flexibility in determining your impact on Canadian health or social services. If you can defray and pay for your health services, this will be deducted from your cost threshold.
Likewise, if you are able to provide evidence of ability and intent to reduce your cost and impact on social services, this too will be factored in your application.
What Happens If You Get Rejected?
You will be allowed to appeal the decision within 60 days—if you miss this deadline, you will be deemed inadmissible and your application will be denied.
If you are appealing a danger to public health or safety decision, the immigration and medical officers will review and re-examine all submitted material. If you are appealing excessive demand on health or social services, you can challenge the medical opinion, challenge excessive demand, or provide a mitigation plan.
The possible outcomes for an appeal are the same: the officers may maintain their original assessment, withdraw their original assessment and request more information, withdraw their original assessment and provide you with a new reason of medical inadmissibility, or decide that you are no longer inadmissible and that you can proceed towards your new home.
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Immigration is a complex process that requires strong legal strategy, precise submission of legal documents and perfect attention to detail, reducing the risk of wasted time, money or permanent rejection.
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