Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Immigration Qualification Based on 'Excessive Demand' Must Change: Minister

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Immigration Qualification Based on 'Excessive Demand' Must Change: Minister

Article excerpt

Change needed for 'excessive demand' immigration rule:Hussen

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A section of Canada's immigration law barring anyone from settling in the country if they have a condition deemed a burden on medical or social services is outdated and needs to be brought in line with Canadian values, the minister in charge said Wednesday.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said he's committed to changing the rules currently spelled out in the country's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and left the door open to the possibility of repealing the controversial section altogether.

Section 38-1C states that a person can't be admitted to Canada if they have a health condition that "might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.''

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is studying medical inadmissibility criteria for newcomers at the request of provincial and territorial ministers and has heard from numerous groups who argued the rules discriminate against people with disabilities and should be scrapped.

Hussen appeared before the committee Wednesday, capping three days of hearings, and said the current rules that have been in place for 40 years are in need of an overhaul.

"This provision needs to be changed. It's simply not in line with our government's policies with respect to moving towards an accessibility agenda, but also with ... how Canadians are increasingly of the opinion that we should be more inclusive as a society," Hussen said before the committee. "I personally think this provision is out of date in terms of looking at those two things."

Hussen was vague on exactly how the law might be changed, saying no decisions would be made without input from the provinces and territories who bear most of the costs of health and social services.

He said, however, that repealing 38-1C was one of the options on the table.

Other options, Hussen said later Wednesday, would include exempting certain groups from the policy or increasing the financial threshold the government uses to calculate admissibility.

Currently a person is generally found inadmissible to Canada if the government determines that their health and social service costs exceed $6,655 per year. …

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