Who is Medically Admissible to Canada?

Table of Contents

Medical Inadmissibility to Canada due to a Danger to Public Health

If your sponsored parents or grandparents have certain infectious diseases like tuberculosis or syphilis, then they may be considered a danger to Canada’s public health. Clearly a pandemic like COVID-19 fits into this category of medical conditions, but there are already numerous controls in place in Canada and abroad to deal with COVID, like not being allowed to board a flight to Canada if you show symptoms at the airport.

IRCC may request third-party laboratory tests if something in your parents or grandparent’s medical exam alerts them to the possibility of an infectious disease. Their medical officers may also request specialist reports if they are worried about anything in a medical exam.


Medical Inadmissibility to Canada due to a Danger to Public Safety

Some other issues that may cause medical officers to raise alerts are:

  • mental health issues – especially those involving violent behavior,
  • a history of substance abuse problems,
  • and any sexual health issue that could be of concern, especially predatory pathologies.

These conditions and their associated behaviors clearly could constitute a danger to the Canadian public’s safety so IRCC medical officers are always on the lookout for them.


Are My Parents/Grandparents Medically Admissible to Canada?

When IRCC talk about the term Medical Inadmissibility, it involves 3 possible reasons for an applicant to be considered medically inadmissible to Canada:

  • Danger to Public Health
  • Danger to Public Safety
  • Excessive Demand on Health and Social Services.

We’ll go through each of these reasons and see which ones are more likely to affect a parental or grandparent’s sponsorship.


Medical Inadmissibility to Canada due to an Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services

This last type of medical issue is one that is perhaps a little more likely to apply to a parent or especially a grandparent that is being sponsored to come and live in Canada.

There are 2 factors that are weighed by officials when making a decision on medical inadmissibility due to excessive demand on health or social services:

ü  Will the sponsored person’s medical condition result in unacceptably longer wait times for medical services in Canada? Remember that Canada’s health care service is largely public, so healthcare has to be rationed to a certain extent, and wait times are a key metric for any provincial or territorial healthcare system.

ü  Will the healthcare services required to treat the sponsored person’s medical condition exceed what is called the excessive demand cost threshold?

This threshold is a ceiling above which your medical costs are considered excessive and an unnecessary burden on Canada’s healthcare system. In other words, in assessing medical inadmissibility, IRCC officials look at the likely cost per year of the applicant’s medical condition (assuming they have a condition) and then compare it to the average amount spent per year in healthcare services on permanent residents and Canadian citizens.

Let’s see how the amount is calculated, and more importantly how the threshold changed radically in 2018 and what that means as far as potential medical inadmissibility for a parent or grandparent being sponsored is concerned.

Health Spending in 2017 Average of $6,604 per person spent in Canada in 2017.
Previous threshold was this average (x 5 over 5 years = $33,275)
Annual cost threshold in 2018 $6,604 x 3 = $19,812 per year
Cost threshold tripled between 2017 & 2018 and has raised slightly every year since
5-year cost threshold in 2018 $19,812 x 5 = $99,060 the 5-year cost threshold for 2018
This is 3 times the previous 5-year cost threshold.

From this table it’s clear that a decision was made by the Liberal government in 2017-2018 to raise the threshold dramatically and make medical inadmissibility less of a threat to potential family reunification. Why is that?

Compare two theoretical applications, one in 2017, and one in 2018:

  • In 2017: You only had to have a medical condition that involved potentially spending more than the average annual cost of healthcare spending per person. Additionally, potential spending on things like special education services, vocational and rehabilitation services, and personal support services were included in their estimates of what an applicant’s medical condition might cost the Canadian health system.
  • In 2018: You now had to have a medical condition that involved spending 3 times the average. And as well, special education services, vocational and rehabilitation services, and personal support services were no longer included in the estimates of what an applicant’s medical condition would cost Canada’s healthcare system.

So, the government did two things in the 2017-2018 transition with regard to medical inadmissibility:

  • They lowered estimates of the potential cost of an applicant’s medical condition.
  • They raised the threshold for excessive demand on healthcare services in Canada.

Bottom line, in 2018 medical inadmissibility became less of a potential problem for parents and grandparents sponsored to come to Canada.


So, what is the current excessive demand threshold for medical admissibility to Canada?

$21,798 per year (or 3 times the Canadian average) and $108,990 per 5-years.

Please remember, however, that how much an applicant’s medical condition will potentially cost Canada’s health system is a calculation done by IRCC officials and medical officers over which you have no control.

What you can do is ensure your parents or grandparents try to treat and improve any medical condition they may have, in as much as that is medically possible, before you apply to sponsor them. (See the next chapter for more information.)


Finally, can my parents’ dependent children (my siblings) be medically inadmissible?

Sponsored dependent children, spouses, or common-law partners CANNOT be medically inadmissible.


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Strategies for Dealing with the Medical Inadmissibility of Your Parents/Grandparents


Responding to a Procedural Fairness Letter on Behalf of Your Parents/Grandparents

If the sponsored parent or grandparent is deemed medically inadmissible, they will receive what is called a Procedural Fairness Letter before a final decision is made. This is done to allow the possibility of remedial action to mitigate the medical condition. Let’s see how this works.

Procedural Fairness is a set of rules that IRCC officials must follow throughout the decision-making process across all applications and procedures including parental and grandparent’s sponsorship.

Under procedural fairness rules, applicants must:

  • Be provided with a fair and unbiased assessment of their application
  • Be informed of the decision-maker’s concerns
  • Have a meaningful opportunity to provide a response to the concerns raised (in our case to concerns about medical conditions).

A key right of applicant’s is the so-called right to be heard. This means that an applicant must be given a reasonable opportunity to bring evidence or make arguments in support of their application.

So, the Procedural Fairness Letter will explain clearly why an applicant is considered medically inadmissible and the applicant will then be given an opportunity to submit information in response to the procedural fairness letter. This will all be done before a final decision is made.

You are permitted to get professional advice (legal and medical especially) in writing your response letter which might include things like:

  • Any treatment your parent/grandparent may have received or be currently receiving to improve their medical condition
  • The fact that their doctor has switched your medication to perhaps a more effective one that is treating their condition more successfully
  • The fact that their doctor has switched your medication to a cheaper one that will lower the cost of your treatments while still treating your condition effectively.

Please note that the response letter must be sent within 90 days from the date of the Procedural Fairness Letter.

As well, the contact information will be included in the Procedural Fairness Letter, so be sure to keep it stored safely and DO NOT lose it.


Responding to a Request for a Mitigation Plan on Behalf of Your Parent/Grandparent

Another possible option is what is called a Mitigation Plan. Be advised that the government will be the ones that request a mitigation plan from you if your specific situation (that is, the specific situation of the parent or grandparent concerned) merits it. You cannot put together a mitigation plan if you have not been asked to do so.

You will be asked for a mitigation plan in your procedural fairness letter, if and only if IRCC decides your situation merits one.

A mitigation plan must be:

  • Credible
  • Detailed
  • Specific to your condition.

You will have to explain how you will support future medical expenses related to your parent’s or grandparent’s condition including:

  • Prescription medication – your mitigation plan might include employer-based or even private health insurance to cover the costs of your medication.
  • Social services – your mitigation plan might detail how you have found a private long-term care facility to help you with your medical condition, assuming the sponsor or the parent or grandparent themselves have the financial means to pay for this. However, you cannot opt out of most other publicly funded healthcare services, so your mitigation plan can’t include covering these services with private insurance.

Here’s what your mitigation plan should include:

  • An explanation of how the services you need will be provided
  • An explanation of how you or your parents/grandparents will pay for those services (aside from those that are publicly provided and which you can’t opt out of)
  • An explanation of your financial situation for the entire time you estimate you will need these healthcare services including bank statements and other financial statements
  • A signed Declaration of Ability and Willingness form where you agree to take responsibility for arranging the health services you will need in Canada along with assuming their costs

Send the mitigation plan to the same contact address given in the procedural fairness letter.


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