Mamadosewin (meeting place, walking together)

Immigration Admissibility—People with Disabilities

Immigration Admissibility—People with Disabilities

Immigration Admissibility—People with Disabilities

Hon. Jim Munson: 

This is a question to the Government Leader in the Senate.

I was pleased last night to see that the immigration minister finally, finally, finally, after a long time, has agreed to open up the discussion on medical inadmissibility of immigration applications of those who have a medical condition. In some respects I can’t believe this is on the books.

Section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act labels certain immigrants as medically inadmissible due to the excessive demand it is perceived they will place on social and health care systems.

In the last little while, this has included a professor at York University who has a son with Down syndrome who was ordered to go back but refused to.

Another case in testimony before the House of Commons committee: A 9-year-old boy in China was also refused permanent residency in this country as an individual living with Down syndrome.

In this country, in this Senate, we have been fighting for the rights of every child to be included in society because of, as we just heard from the senator before, the whole idea that they can participate in society, each and every one of them. Yet, I’ve been told the social services costs for the excessive demands are $6,665, currently, set over a five-year period.

The minister said it yesterday, but he did not give any timetable. How long will it take to amend this provision policy? This is about human rights and inclusion in this country. When will persons with disabilities finally feel that the Canadian government is an advocate for their inclusion into Canadian society and values?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question and for his ongoing advocacy on these matters. The minister’s statement reflects his determination to review these studies.

I’m unaware of a time frame he has publicly committed to for this review, but I can assure you that by undertaking this review, he is committed to an expeditious review so the government can come to a conclusion as to how and whether to amend this long-standing prohibition, based on, as the senator will know, practice that has been debated for some time.

Senator Munson: Does “expeditious” mean “in this term”?

As the Government Representative, what is your view?

Senator Harder: As the honourable senator will realize, I don’t have a view as the Government Representative. As a former Deputy Minister of Immigration, I might.

Let me inquire of the minister and report back to the chamber.