Last updated on June 23rd, 2020
Section 38 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that a foreign national is inadmissible on health grounds if their condition is (a) likely to be a danger to the public, (b) is likely to be a danger to public safety, or (c) might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services. The excessive demand inadmissibility provisions are designed, in part, to reduce the impacts of immigration on Canada’s publicly funded health and social services systems.
People who have a medical condition should not immediately assume, however, that they will be inadmissible to Canada. First, certain types of immigrants are exempted from excessive demand inadmissibility. Second, in 2018, the Government of Canada increased the threshold for excessive demand and also excluded certain types of health and social services from rendering someone inadmissible. Third, those with medical conditions may not be inadmissible if they can show that they will not be a burden on Canada’s publicly funded health and social services systems. Fourth, the data suggests that the immigration applications of many applicants who are initially declared medically inadmissible are approved.
Immigrants Exempted from Excessive Demand Inadmissibility
Excessive demand inadmissibility does not apply to the spouse, common-law partner or child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is sponsoring them to immigrate.
It also does not apply to refugees and protected persons.
The 2018 Changes
On June 1, 2018 the Liberal Government of Canada enacted a Temporary Public Policy Regarding Excessive Demand on Health and Social Services (the “Public Policy“)
In order to understand the changes it is necessary to understand some key terms.
Section 1 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations“) defines excessive demand as:
(a) a demand on health services or social services for which the anticipated costs would likely exceed average Canadian per capita health services and social services costs over a period of five consecutive years immediately following an individual’s most recent medical exam,Read more ›
Regulation 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that a foreign national may work off campus if:
(v) if they are the holder of a study permit and
(i) they are a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,
(ii) the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and
(iii) although they are permitted to engage in full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions, they work no more than 20 hours per week during a regular academic session;
In brief, international students can work can work part time (up to 20 hours a week) during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions.
According to the IRCC Guidelines, international students can work off campus without a permit, provided that all of the following statements are true:
- they hold a valid study permit
- they are full-time students enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)
- the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec
- the program of study is at least 6 months in duration and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate
An academic program is defined as a post-secondary program that awards academic credentials to persons for whom the normal entrance requirement is high school completion or higher.Read more ›
Section 109 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that the Refugee Protection Division (the “RPD“) may vacate a decision to allow a claim for refugee protection if it determines that the decision was obtained through misrepresentation. Specifically, it states:
Vacation of refugee protection
109 (1) The Refugee Protection Division may, on application by the Minister, vacate a decision to allow a claim for refugee protection, if it finds that the decision was obtained as a result of directly or indirectly misrepresenting or withholding material facts relating to a relevant matter.
Rejection of application
(2) The Refugee Protection Division may reject the application if it is satisfied that other sufficient evidence was considered at the time of the first determination to justify refugee protection.
Allowance of application
(3) If the application is allowed, the claim of the person is deemed to be rejected and the decision that led to the conferral of refugee protection is nullified.
The approach to an application to vacate a decision granting refugee status involves two steps:
First, the RPD must find that the decision granting refugee protection was obtained as a result of a direct or indirect misrepresentation, or a withholding of material facts relating to a relevant matter; and
Second, the RPD should consider whether there remains sufficient evidence that was considered at the time of the positive determination to justify refugee protection and, if so, the RPD may reject the application to vacate, notwithstanding the misrepresentation
The Immigration and Refugee Board’s statistics on vacation hearings can be found here.
Withdrawn & Other
2020 (January to March)
Pursuant to Justice Russell’s decision in Bafakih v.Read more ›
Canada is currently in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its borders are closed to discretionary travel. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has suspended the processing of most temporary residence applications. The Canada Border Services Agency has put a pause on removing people from Canada. Civil servants are largely working from home. The Royal Bank of Canada is forecasting that 170,000 fewer people will become immigrants than what was planned pre-COVID-19.
At the same time, many provinces have begun reopening their economies. The Orders in Council closing the Canada – US border and Canada’s airports to international travel are supposed to expire on June 21 and June 30 respectively, although they may be extended.
The question that many are asking is what comes next for Canada’s immigration system.
While the processing of most temporary residence applications has been suspended during COVID-19 the ability of foreign nationals to submit them has continued. The implication is obvious. When COVID-19 ends there will be a massive backlog of applications. Significant processing delays should be expected.
The systemic delays will not be limited to the ability of visa officers to process applications. The collection of biometrics at Service Canada and most Visa Application Centers has been suspended since mid-March. When these centers re-open applicants will need to schedule appointments. Unless capacity is expanded each day that they remain closed is a day that will need to be added to how long it will take to schedule an appointment in the future.
Prior to COVID-19 the deadline to give biometrics after being instructed to do so was 30 days. At the start of COVID-19 this was extended to 90 days. New biometric instruction letters do not have a deadline. It would not be surprising if applicants in the future will be told that they have six months to provide biometrics until the backlog is clear.Read more ›