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After 40 years, federal government ending barriers to disabled immigrants

After 40 years, federal government ending barriers to disabled immigrants
From CTV - April 16, 2018

OTTAWA -- The federal government is eliminating a long-standing rule that turned away would-be immigrants with intellectual or physical disabilities.

On Monday, 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 with serious health conditions or disabilities.

Hussen says 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.

He 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."

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.

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