Canada to relax medical admissibility rules

On April 16, 2018, Canada Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced a major change to the rules that govern admissibility of immigrants to Canada who may have medical conditions that may cause an “excess demand” on Canada’s health system. Under current law, persons who would cost the government more than the average amount for health services are inadmissible, unless they are the spouses or children of Canadians. Under the new rules, expected to go into effect June 1, 2018, the amount will be increased to three times the average amount. This would increase the possible expense to about $20,000 CAD per year. According to the Minister, this would mean that all but 250 persons who were found inadmissible last year would now be admissible.

In addition, the Minister stated that the definition of “social services” would be changed to exclude special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services. This means children with learning disabilities would no longer be inadmissible to Canada.

These changes are authorized by the Minister’s authority to consider “humanitarian and compassionate” factors in the application of existing law. The law itself has not been changed. It is expected that more permanent changes to the admissibility rules will be implemented after further study.