Canada opens the door for disabled immigrants

If you thought it couldn’t get worse, you were wrong.

With 4.9 million Canadians living in poverty in this country, 30,000 of them with no place to call home each and every night and more than one million Canadians unemployed, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the first change in 40 years to the federal medical inadmissibility rules, which allowed the government to reject permanent resident applications from those immigrants with serious health conditions or disabilities.

Hussen made the announcement Monday. He said the majority of those impacted by the policy have been economic immigrants who were already working and creating jobs in Canada, but whose children or spouses may have a disability.

“The current provisions on medical inadmissibility are over 40 years old and are clearly not in line with Canadian values or our government’s vision of inclusion,” Hussen said.

Yes, that may be his government’s vision of inclusion. But what about the views of Canadians and the 30,000 of them living day to day with no place to sleep? And what about the 5.8 per cent of Canadians unemployed? Don’t they deserve jobs and medical care first.

Hussen cited the case of a tenured professor at York University, who was denied permanent residency because his son had Down syndrome and another case of a family which came to Canada and started a business, but were rejected because of a child with epilepsy.

“These newcomers can contribute and are not a burden to Canada. These newcomers have the ability to help grow our economy and enrich our social fabric,” Hussen said.

The changes will amend the definition of social services by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services.

Ottawa is also tripling the cost threshold at which an application for permanent residency can be denied on medical grounds.

This will allow immigrants with minor health conditions that have relatively low health and social services costs to be approved for permanent residency, such as those with hearing or visual impairments.

Of the 177,000 economic immigrants admitted to Canada every year, about 1,000 are affected by the medical inadmissibility policy. The changes are expected to dispense with a majority of these cases.

So get ready Canada to fork out even more cash to take care of the world’s most desperate people. Open your wallets. And for Canadians waiting for much-needed surgery or an appointment with the doctor or a specialist, get ready to wait longer. After all, this is a Justin Trudeau government. Anybody not in possession of a birth certificate from one of Canada’s provinces or territories always comes first.

Hussen told reporters Ottawa will pay the costs of the changes announced today, but remained unclear about whether this would mean additional money in health or social services transfers.

“We will reflect on these changes to see the impact that they will have. We have to wait and see what the numbers will be before I can answer that question, ” Hussen said.

The changes are expected to come into effect immediately.

Isn’t this amazing? The minister just announced a major change in policy and he doesn’t know how much it will cost us? He is going to allow people suffering from health care problems into the country to drain our medical services and he doesn’t care what it will cost?

Well, actually that does sound like a government of a country that is $1.4 trillion in debt and counting.

And what about these “economic immigrants?” How many jobs are they taking away from Canadians. Or are they really “creating jobs” as the minister says?

In 2017, the Auditor General indicated foreign workers were taking jobs Canadians could fill.

It was a story on the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, but you get the picture. It was another chapter in this government’s plan to put immigrants to the front of the line for jobs and now health care services. When will it end?

There’s a federal election coming up in 2019. Hopefully, when it is over, we will have a government that will put Canadians at the front of the line for much-needed health care services, doctors and a place to live. This government just doesn’t seem to care.

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Jeff Wilkinson

About the Author: Jeff Wilkinson

Jeff Wilkinson is a retired Canadian journalist who covered a wide range of political stories over a 35-year career in newspapers and radio. He was at Place du Canada in Montreal in 1995 for the Unity rally on the eve of the Quebec referendum. He interviewed former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and numerous cabinet ministers, provincial premiers and many other key political figures both provincially and federally. Most recently he served in the Press Operations Crews at the 2015 Pan Am Games and 2017 Invictus Games.
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