Entry to Canada is not guaranteed to all foreign nationals, even if their country of citizenship has an agreement with Canada for visa-free travel to Canada. A foreign national may be deemed inadmissible to enter Canada for a variety of reasons, however, criminal inadmissibility and medical inadmissibility are two of the primary explanations. In certain cases, inadmissibility may be overcome. Therefore, potential travellers need to take the necessary precautions before travelling to Canada to avoid being denied entry at the Canadian border upon arrival.

Medical Inadmissibility 

Newcomers to Canada may be deemed medically inadmissible if a Canadian immigration official finds that the individual either temporarily or permanently fulfills one of the three criteria for inadmissibility. These criteria include:

  • whether an individual may be a danger to public health, 
  • whether an individual may be a danger to public safety, or
  • whether the needs of the individual will place an excessive demand on health or social services in Canada.

Danger to Public Health or Safety

A potential immigrant to Canada can be denied entry if it is found that they pose a danger to public health or safety. The danger to public health or safety is determined partly based on the applicant’s immigration medical exam results. 

The Government of Canada considers whether the applicant may be a danger to public health based on whether the applicant is a carrier of certain infectious diseases, such as active tuberculosis or syphilis, whether the applicant has been in close contact with others who carry an infectious disease, and how the applicant’s disease might affect other people living in Canada. When considering whether an individual may be a danger to public safety, an officer must consider the sudden incapacity of the applicant and the possibility of unpredictable and violent behaviour.

Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services

The Canadian Government may refuse an immigration application if it is determined that the applicant has a health condition which could cause excessive strain and demand on Canada’s health system or social services. This decision is partly based on the applicant’s immigration medical exam results. 

The two key factors that are considered when determining whether an applicant’s condition will cause excessive strain are whether the health and/or social services required to treat the applicant’s health condition would negatively affect wait times for services in Canada, and whether the services needed to treat and manage the applicant’s health condition would likely cost more than the excessive demand cost threshold. 

The excessive demand cost threshold is a dollar value which is used as a measuring tool by the government when determining whether an applicant’s care will cause excessive demand on Canada’s health and social service systems. As of 2022, the cost threshold is $120,285 over five years or $24,807 per year. If an applicant’s cost of care is found to likely cost higher than this threshold, it is likely the applicant will be found to be inadmissible. The threshold is based on the average cost of health care and social services in Canada, and therefore is updated each year.

Overcoming Medical Inadmissibility 

If a potential immigrant is found to be medically inadmissible, they may still be able to gain entry into Canada if they submit a mitigation plan for excessive demand along with their immigration application. To be successful, a mitigation plan must include specific criteria and attach the appropriate documentation, including how the applicant’s required service needs will be provided, how the applicant will pay for those services, and what the applicant’s financial situation will be while they reside in Canada. 

Criminal Inadmissibility 

A criminal record may cause difficulty for a potential immigrant trying to enter Canada. However, the extent and cause of the applicant’s criminal record will be considered to overcome inadmissibility.

For example, those with criminal records in other jurisdictions related to the possession of marijuana are still allowed to enter Canada, as marijuana is legalized. If an applicant was charged with a marijuana-related offence for possession under 30 grams, they may be allowed entry. However, a criminal record which includes trafficking marijuana or other distribution-related crimes may likely result in inadmissibility. 

Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility 

For those with non-marijuana-related criminal record offences, other avenues are available to attempt to overcome inadmissibility to Canada.

Deemed Rehabilitation 

If ten years or more have elapsed since an applicant’s last criminal charge, the applicant may be permitted to enter Canada. The ten-year period includes probation, fines, and any other sentencing conditions. Admissibility, however, depends on the seriousness of the criminal charge, the applicant’s criminal record in its totality, and the time that has passed since each charge. Further, deemed rehabilitation is only available for a charge which would carry a maximum prison sentence of ten years or less if it had been committed in Canada. 

Individual Rehabilitation 

For individual rehabilitation, five or more years must have passed since the applicant’s most recent criminal sentence. This five-year period includes parole and probation periods as well. Under individual rehabilitation, an applicant can make a claim stating that they have been rehabilitated. Further, applicants are asked to show that they have a stable lifestyle, a permanent home, employment, and provide letters establishing their character reference confirming that the applicant would be unlikely to commit additional crimes in Canada.

Temporary Residence 

A third option is to enter Canada through a temporary resident permit. In order to receive a temporary residence permit, the applicant must have a valid reason to travel to Canada, which outweighs any risk posed by the applicant entering Canada. Temporary residence permits limit the amount of time for an applicant’s visit. A legal opinion letter may assist an applicant in obtaining a temporary residence permit. 

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance with Overcoming Inadmissibility to Canada

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law have years of experience helping clients overcome inadmissibility to Canada. Our team helps clients address potential inadmissibility issues in advance of their travel in order to ensure that they have the best possible chance of being granted entry into Canada. If you have concerns about being granted entry to Canada or an immigration application, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860.

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