Ottawa Immigration to Relax Restrictions for Persons with Disabilities


Giant OTTAWA Sign placed near Byward Market for tourists

Ottawa to implement changes to immigration policy










Ottawa immigration will relax its restrictions for applicants with disabilities so the demand they pose on Canada’s medical and social services would not prevent them from immigrating to the country. Over 1,000 permanent and temporary resident applicants are found to be medically inadmissible due to “excessive” demand on health care and social services.


Immigration officials said that in 2015, due to the strict medical immigration restriction, only 0.1% of all publicly funded health spending was saved. Last December, the parliamentary immigration committee released a report recommending the government lift the “excessive medical demand clause” in the law.


On Monday, May 07, 2018, the Canadian Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen announced that the new law will come into effect as of June 1, 2018. Canada will now update the 40-year old policy that placed restrictions on potential immigrants with disabilities from migrating to Ottawa, Canada.


The current policy states that Foreign nationals are inadmissible if their medical condition ‘might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.’


How the Law Affected Canadian Immigrants


In 2008 Luzviminda Alicbusan’s dream of migrating to Canada to work as a live-in caregiver became a reality. The hard part was leaving her family back in the Philippines, especially her son who has a mental disability.


Two years later she applied for permanent residency and was denied because of her son’s disability.

“Why are they doing this to us, what did we do wrong?” she asked. “Is having a child with a disability a crime?”


The Canadian government is “undertaking a fundamental review” of the Ottawa immigration policy. Hursh Jaswal, a special assistant in the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship is quoted as saying.


“We understand the concerns raised by families looking to make Canada their home who are faced with this situation,” he said. “Our goal is to find the right balance between welcoming new members into Canadian society through a fair and supportive immigration system while also protecting our publicly funded health and social services.”


A spokesperson for the Caregivers’ Action Centre Anna Malla, says she is struggling to make sure that caregivers are given permanent residence as soon as they arrive.


“The fact that caregivers have to leave their families right from the beginning is the main problem,” she said. “People, who come here as caregivers to care for other people’s family members who are sick and disabled are then not allowed to bring their family members? That’s ironic and discriminatory.”


What The New Changes Have Mean to Ottawa Immigration


Ottawa immigration woman on wheelchair with a friend

Ottawa immigration policy changes to help people with disabilities


In the current policy, a person with a disability is inadmissible if their medical demands exceed the annual health-care cost of $6, 655. The new changes propose that the new cost limit is set at $19, 965 for a person with a disability to be considered inadmissible.


“This is better than nothing, but we don’t understand why there is still a cost threshold. Disability can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime,” according to James Hicks a member of the Council of Canadians With Disabilities. Who has lived with juvenile arthritis, a condition that was diagnosed when he was only 9.


Speaking to the press in Ottawa, the Canadian Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen revealed that the changes are in line with the government’s plan to create a more inclusive Canada.


Hussen was quoted as saying, “the medical inadmissibility provision was out of step with the values of Canadians. The changes we are announcing today are a major step forward in ensuring our immigration system is more inclusive of persons with disabilities, and reflect the values of Canadians”.


“The provision did not adequately account for the contributions made by the entire family just because a family member has a disability,” he added.


Canada boasts the highest percentage of foreign-born citizens than any other G8 country. In opening its doors to immigration, Canada has created a society of mixed languages, cultures, and religions.


The new policy will finally make it easy for people to migrate to Canada without worrying about leaving behind their family members. Canada is country that has great pride in the values of diversity and acceptance regardless of a person’s religion, race or physicality.  


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