Doctor holding a clipboard at a clinic.

New rules governing the medical inadmissibility of immigration candidates are now in effect.

Introduced on June 1, the changes deliver on a promise made by Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Ahmed Hussen, in April, when he announced his department would be rewriting the controversial provisions around so-called "excessive demand" contained in Section 38-1(C) and 38-2 of Canada's Immigration and Refugees Protection Act (IRPA).

Chief among the changes is the tripling of the threshold for what’s considered an excessive demand on Canada's health and social services. 

In 2017, the cost threshold for a demand to be considered excessive was $6,655 per year, or $33,275 over five years. Based on those figures, the cost threshold would now be around $19,965 per year.

IRCC said earlier this year that approximately 1,000 applicants for permanent or temporary residence are ruled inadmissible for medical reasons each year, or 0.2 per cent of all applicants who undergo medical screening. The savings from this ruling amounted to 0.1 per cent of all publicly funded health spending in Canada.

In an update issued Friday, IRCC said the purpose of the revisions are three-fold.

"This public policy promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in Canadian society. It also removes a barrier for many people who require health and social services and could also contribute to Canada’s social and economic fabric. At the same time, the policy continues to protect health and social services for Canadians," the update reads.

The changes also revise how applicants are assessed, largely by modifying how social services are defined. IRCC said the modifications focus the immigration medical assessment on those publicly-funded social services that are closely related to health services and related to the provision of constant supervision and care for those who are not able to integrate into society.

"Changing the definition will bring the policy in line with Canadian values on supporting the participation of persons with disabilities in society. At the same time, it will continue to protect health and social services for Canadians," IRCC says.

IRCC said the new rules apply to any foreign national (principal applicant and family members) with a temporary or permanent resident application that was received on or after April 16, 2018 or was pending as of that date, was sent back by the Court for redetermination on or after April 16, 2018, or was sent back by the Immigration Appeal Division for reconsideration on or after April 16, 2018.

An application is considered to be pending up until it is either approved, refused, withdrawn or abandoned, IRCC added.

The temporary public policy will remain in place until regulatory changes come into force.

To learn more about inadmissibility to Canada, visit the the inadmissibility section on our website.