What medical conditions might prevent you from moving to Canada
With some diseases, you can never immigrate to Canada. And if someone in your family has them, the whole family is banned from entering Canada.
When you apply for a visa or cross the border, Canadian immigration officers may find you inadmissible for some reason. Then you will not be allowed to enter or stay in Canada.
One of the reasons you may not be allowed to enter Canada is a serious illness or a special health condition. What kind of conditions can lead to a refusal of entry, on what grounds are decisions made, and is there anything you can do if you are refused entry? Let's get to the bottom of this.
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If you see Canada's official website, it lists three reasons for refusing entry on medical grounds: if the person poses a danger to public health, danger to public safety, or if the illness would cause excessive demand on Canada's health or social services.
Danger to public health
This includes diseases that pose a threat to other people. For example, infectious diseases such as an active form of tuberculosis or syphilis. HIV infection is an exception and is not considered dangerous to other people. Also, not only those who are sick but also those who have been in contact with a sick person can be refused.
Danger to public safety
This category includes a variety of mental conditions associated with the sudden loss of capacity and unpredictable or aggressive behaviour. Again, when a person can become a threat to other people.
Examples of such conditions:
- impulsive sociopathic behavioral disorders;
- certain sexual disorders, such as pedophilia;
- paranoid conditions associated with violence or risk of harm to others;
- aggressive behaviour or driving under the influence of psychoactive substances, and so on.
Excessive demand on health or social services
There could be two possibilities: the treatment of the disease would be too expensive or the health and social services would negatively affect the waiting time for services for other Canadians. For example, the immigrant will cause Canadians to wait longer for doctor's appointments and so on.
Let's talk about too expensive treatment. In Canada, medicine is conditionally free, so if your condition requires some expensive treatment, the government will have to spend money on it. In 2022, the threshold for allowable treatment costs is $22,057 CAD per year.
You can be refused entry because of conditions such as HIV, cancer, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and the like. But this does not apply to refugees and sponsored family members, i.e. children and spouses who are financially dependent on you.
Decision to refuse entry
So how are decisions made about whether or not to deny you entry? Herein lies the main challenge. To immigrate to Canada or to enter on visitor, student, and work visas for more than six months, you must undergo a mandatory medical examination. Your family members also have to undergo the examination, even if they are not accompanying you to Canada. The examination is done only at special clinics approved by the Government of Canada.
During the medical examination, a medical history is drawn up, the examination is conducted, and you may be sent for some additional tests or undergo additional examinations. Then the doctor makes a preliminary assessment of your health, and the examination results are transmitted to the immigration office, and based on them, the officers decide whether you are eligible for entry or not. The results will also be discussed with you, and you can request a copy of the documents, which will be sent to the immigration office.
However, there is no definite list of conditions with which you will definitely be refused or definitely allowed to enter. If you have some medical condition, no one but the immigration officers who will decide on your case will tell you whether or not you will be admissible to Canada. Each decision about whether a condition is dangerous, poses a threat to Canadians, and whether it would be too expensive to treat, is made on a case-by-case basis. Those conditions named above are also just examples.
It turns out that you cannot know in advance whether you will be allowed into Canada, you can only guess. Another unpleasant thing is that you pay for the medical examination yourself, and if you are refused entry, the fees are not refundable.
Actions in case of refusal
What should you do if you are inadmissible for medical reasons? You will get a letter telling you the reasons for the decision. It is called a Procedural Fairness Letter. This letter is sent before the final decision to deny you entry is made. This means that Canada has reasons not to let you in, but it is not final yet.
Within 90 days, you need to respond to this letter and provide some kind of proof that you can be allowed to enter Canada. This can be:
- a new medical diagnosis — for example, while your medical exam results were under review, you received treatment or your health condition improved;
- new drugs or services you need — if your doctor has changed your prescription;
- the cost of drugs or services — for example, if you are taking some expensive drugs, your doctor may prescribe a cheaper equivalent.
Also, if the immigration office intends to deny you entry because of a possible excessive demand on the healthcare system, you may be offered a plan to mitigate the demand. Again, there is no list of situations when this is offered and when it is not, it is all decided on a case-by-case basis.
In your plan, you must try to prove that you don't need a lot of money on your medications and social support. Note that the plan only talks about medications and social services, the treatment itself is still funded by the state, so there is no way to prove that you don't need the cost of the treatment.
Regarding medications, a good reason would be, for example, that you have an employer in Canada who will pay for health insurance that covers medications. And as for social services, if you have money, you can find a private long-term care facility that will accept you, and most importantly, you can pay for it. Again, every case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
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