Caregivers demand repeal of rules denying immigration on medical grounds

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This week caregivers protested outside Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office to demand that the federal government immediately repeal a section of a law that denies permanent residency to immigrants with disabilities.

The group called upon the minister to repeal section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which it says denies permanent residency to an entire family if one member is sick or has a disability that would pose “excessive demand” on Canada’s health care system.

One thousand people and their families were rejected on this basis in 2014 alone.

Caregivers say this policy separates and divides families because it denies status to their children with disabilities making it impossible to reunite with their own families.

The migrants insist that most of those being denied immigration on health grounds could qualify for private insurance, it is expensive and clear that few new Canadians have the means to pay for expensive therapy and care without government assistance.

Meanwhile Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada released a statement saying it would provide a response to the policy in April.

“Under the current provisions, officers determine excessive demand by assessing the health and social services required by an applicant, the costs of those services and the effect on waiting lists for care. No specific health condition results in an automatic rejection of an applicant.

“Each applicant is assessed on an individual basis and all applicants have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability and willingness to mitigate any cost impact on social services in Canada,” read an email statement.

“Our goal is to strike the right balance between welcoming new members into Canadian society through a fair and compassionate immigration system while also protecting our publicly funded health and social services.”

Striking a balance is getting harder given the need for compassion and balancing it with the economic realities. While many argue Canada is a rich country, it can quickly become a not-so-rich country if spending on social causes and humanitarian assistance goes out of control. – CINEWS

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