People often worry that a family member’s medical condition or his intellectual, hearing or visual impairment could jeopardize plans to immigrate to Canada.  Up until now, it could indeed be difficult as the entire family faced the hurdle of Canada’s “excessive demand” rule.

This meant that if one family member needed medical or social services expected to cost more that 6,655 CAD/year (in 2017) or 33,275 CAD over a five-year period, the entire family could be refused access to Canada. As of June 1st 2018, this hurdle will be considerably lower.

This rule had been controversial for some time, as many felt that it no longer reflected Canadian values with respect to human rights and the inclusion of persons with disabilities.  In fact, in a report released on December 12, 2017, the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration had recommended its repeal.

On April 16, 2018, the Government announced major changes.

The Government agrees with the call to repeal the policy and is in discussion with the Provinces and Territories to do so at a later date.  In the mean time Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has tripled the threshold for what’s considered an excessive demand, bringing the cost threshold to $19,965 per year. This change will take effect on June 1st 2018.

In addition, the definition of social services is amended by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services. People with intellectual, hearing or visual impairments, for instance should not longer be refused on that basis only.