On 16th April 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced major changes to Canada’s immigration policy that will make it far easier for persons with disabilities and their family members to immigrate to Canada.
The old immigration policy also known as “medical inadmissibility” due to excessive demand, the law, as currently written, allows the government to deny people residency in Canada because they or an immediate family member have a disability or medical condition that could place “excessive demand” on publicly funded health and social service programs. This often means denying residency to parents whose children have disabilities.
The new changes will, however, mean the government will no longer consider certain social service spending when deciding if someone can immigrate to Canada, particularly social service spending related to special education needs.
This decision is very helpful to immigrants whose children have intellectual disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome because it means their applications will no longer be denied due to special education needs and another social service spending that could be required once they arrive in Canada.
Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the changes will take effect immediately. Families whose applications have been denied in the past due to special education costs related to a child’s disability will need to reapply if they wish to be considered under the new rules.
“After getting the good news – I was driving so I had to be careful – I was pretty excited,” said Samrat Saha, 38, whose family was denied permanent residency in Canada last May, because his six-year-old son, Rajarshi, has autism.
“We’ve all been waiting for this change for a long time,” he said. “Because disability is not by choice, it’s by birth, right? And I don’t think anybody should be discriminated against based on their disability,” he added.
Saha feels the end of the discriminatory 40-year old policy is a blessing. The old policy was introduced to save Canadian public resources, especially the public funded health care system.
With these changes, however, Canada will now no longer consider certain costs when deciding if someone can come to Canada. These costs include special education costs for children with disabilities.
The government said it will also triple the cost limit for denying someone based on medical conditions to nearly $20,000 a year.
Saha, a software engineer with an advanced university degree, said that this announcement meant he and his wife no longer had to worry about their future in Canada – or whether they might be forced to leave.
“It was a pretty exciting day,” he said. “I can now re-apply for permanent residency, which I am already in the process of doing. And, of course, now I will not be discriminated against and my son will not be rejected based on his disability.”
Canada is a land of opportunity, and these changes are viewed as opportunities, rather than a strain on government resources.
If you have a child with special needs and want to migrate to Canada that’s one less thing to worry about.
Find out which visa options you can apply for Canadian immigration here.