INADMISSABILITY TO CANADA
Are you concerned about admissibility issues? Have you been turned away unexpectedly at the Canadian border?
Many people wishing to enter or immigrate to Canada are surprised to learn that a prior criminal record can result in a Canadian Immigration Officer refusing their entry, or application, on the basis of criminal inadmissibility.
If you have been found to be criminally inadmissible to Canada, or think you may be inadmissible, it is important to know that you still have options.
Contact us today for a consultation.
Overcoming Criminal Inadmissibility
There are three main ways of overcoming criminal inadmissibility to Canada:
Individuals considered criminally inadmissible may be allowed to enter Canada if the government of Canada considers them criminally rehabilitated.
A TRP is a document issued to individuals who are otherwise inadmissible to Canada, allowing them to enter the country.
A legal opinion letter, written by an attorney, can help an individual gain entry to Canada.
CRIMINAL INADMISSIBILITY PROBLEMS
Certain situations may result in an individual being inadmissible to Canada. However, there are ways to overcome inadmissibility.
These situations include:
Inadmissibility to Canada may affect a broad range of people. However, individuals in certain situations may be particularly affected from a personal and/or professional point of view. These include:
OTHER IMMIGRATION OBSTICLES
Immigration to Canada can be a long and sometimes complicated process. If you are experiencing one of the problems listed below, we recommend you contact us at your earliest convenience. We will discuss your immigration problem with you to properly assess how our law firm can help you.
In certain cases, a Canadian immigration application refusal can be challenged. Was your application refused? We may be able to challenge it.
Do you need an immigration attorney to take over the representation of your Canadian immigration application? Many people submit their applications without legal representation, but later decide that they do indeed need an immigration attorney to represent their case. We may be able to take over representation of your file.
A medical exam is required for the principal applicant and all of their dependents as part of the immigration process. Learn more about what it means to be medically inadmissible for immigration to Canada.
DRIVING OFFENCES INVOLVING ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
In terms of inadmissibility, the most commonly encountered offences are those pertaining to driving while intoxicated. Such offences have different designations, depending on the circumstances of the infraction and where the offence was committed.
These include: DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while impaired/intoxicated), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), DWUI (driving while under the influence), OWI (operating while intoxicated), OUI (operating under the influence), and OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated).
These offences typically lead to a finding of inadmissibility, and can result in being turned away at the Canadian border. This is the case whether the individual is attempting to drive or fly into Canada.
Despite the fact that a conviction for this offence is often seen as a welcome alternative to a DUI (or any variation thereof), in terms of inadmissibility they both carry the same effect — a determination of inadmissibility that can lead to a denial of entry to Canada. Dangerous driving is an analogous offence that also results in inadmissibility.
Any serious driving violation has the potential of hindering an individual’s ability to legally enter the country, regardless of whether the individual in question will be driving in Canada.
Fraud is a general category of offences that includes any violation committed with the intent of depriving another (An individual or company/organization) of anything of which they are the rightful owner.
Theft is the most obvious offence that falls under fraud. Depending on the nature of the theft and the amount stolen, the offence will be considered more or less serious by Canadian Immigration authorities. For example, theft under $5,000 is considered a non-serious offence, while theft over this amount is considered to constitute serious criminality. Moreover, if the theft is performed with the aid of a weapon, violence, or the threat of violence, these can be aggravating factors in determining the seriousness of the infraction.
The use of a credit card with the knowledge that it has been revoked or cancelled is another form of fraud that can result in inadmissibility to Canada. Using a method of payment which the individual is aware will not result in the other party being compensated is an offence, as it entails deceit. The same reasoning applies to knowingly using a bad cheque, and the commission of this act often carries with it a determination of inadmissibility.
Most forms of assault can render someone inadmissible to Canada. Assault can refer to a number of different forms of physical altercation that might take place between individuals. These can range from spontaneous bar fights to passionate crimes of violence carried out with premeditation and intent. Regardless of their place along this spectrum, in most cases incidents of assault result in inadmissibility to Canada.
Here again there can be certain mitigating or aggravating factors that affect the seriousness of the assault. These pertain primarily to whether a weapon was employed in carrying out the assault and whether bodily harm was inflicted upon the victim of the assault. If a weapon was used and/or injury to the victim resulted from the assault, then this offence would be considered serious criminality.
For the purposes of Canadian inadmissibility, this could lead to an individual being assessed as more of a security risk by Canadian immigration authorities, and a determination of inadmissibility is more likely to ensue.
That being said, both serious assault (using a weapon and/or inflicting bodily harm) and non-serious assault (no weapon and no bodily harm) can render an individual inadmissible to Canada.
A charge for the consumption, possession, purchase or distribution of drugs can all have the effect of rendering an individual inadmissible to Canada.
The nature and context of this offence can impact its seriousness and affect the likelihood that it will result in an individual being found inadmissible.
An obvious indicator with regard to this is the class of drug involved in the offence.
Drugs are classified according to different schedules in the Canadian criminal code, and it is this classification which determines the gravity of the offence and the severity of the punishments available to sanction its commission. For example, possession of marijuana (which has recently become legal for certain quantities) and the possession of cocaine are seen as very different offences, and it would therefore not make sense if individuals who perpetrated these offences were dealt with in the same manner. Cocaine is considered to be a more serious and harm-inducing narcotic. Therefore, the sanction to punish its possession is usually harsher than that which applies for marijuana.
Because the nature of drug offences vary widely, the seriousness with which they are regarded and their effect on Canadian inadmissibility do as well. Different actions taken with regard to particular drugs can carry different legal consequences. The same holds true for affecting one’s ability to enter Canada legally. For example, while the possession of certain drugs under a specified amount might not result in inadmissibility, the unauthorized distribution of the same drug in the same amount can do so.
Depending on the type of drugs, the amount of drugs in question, and the action taken with respect to the drugs, the effects of the offence on Canadian inadmissibility can vary. The strategies available to overcome or address the resulting inadmissibility can also be different, and their chances of success depend greatly on the circumstances and context of the offence.
A foreign national or permanent resident may be criminally inadmissible or removable from Canada, as the case may be, on the grounds of serious criminality.
For convictions within Canada, if they have:
Been convicted in Canada of an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
Been convicted in Canada and received a prison term of at least six months.
For convictions outside Canada, if they have:
Been convicted outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years; or
Been convicted outside Canada of an act that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to a hybrid offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.
For criminal acts committed outside Canada, if they have:
Committed an act outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be equivalent to an indictable offence punishable by a maximum sentence of at least ten years.
SITUATIONS AFFECTED FROM A PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL POINT OF VIEW
No matter how high profile a performing artist might be, anybody who has charges on their record is at risk of refusal when attempting to enter Canada.
Many Canadian cities, including Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, have a vibrant live music and performing arts scene. Although there is no shortage of local talent, much of the live entertainment that takes place in these cities comes from foreign nationals who are in Canada temporarily.
Because they must cross over the Canadian border to perform, inadmissibility issues can arise and artists can be denied entry, resulting in last minute show cancellations and disappointed audiences.
While an individual’s notoriety might lend some importance to their reason for travel, fame and fortune by no means guarantees that this individual will be permitted to enter Canada. Several “A-list” celebrities have been refused entry or told they could not enter Canada in recent years. These include singers, actors, DJ’s, dancers, comedians, celebrity speakers, and any members of their supporting crew.
The short amount of time these individuals will be in the country also does not mean they will be allowed to enter. Even people who are merely transiting through Canada with a connecting flight must usually address any inadmissibility issue.
Any performer or artist, no matter where they rank along the spectrum of celebrity, and regardless of the length of time they will be spending in Canada, should be cognizant of any potential inadmissibility problems they might face.
AIRLINES AND THEIR STAFF
If someone who works in the airline industry has a criminal record, it is likely that they will have problems entering Canada.
Canada is an important hub for the airline industry, both in terms of travel destinations and connections to other countries. This heavy volume entails the need for many airline employees in various occupations to travel freely in and out of Canada. It is important that pilots, flight deck crew, and cabin crew not be restricted in terms of their ability to enter the country legally.
While this is not an issue for most people, certain individuals with criminal offences on their record can be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. For those in the airline industry, this can have some implications.
At best, for those who are criminally inadmissible, routes with a Canadian stop on the itinerary would unfortunately not be an option. This would restrict them, as they would be forced to pick and choose flight plans that avoided Canada, potentially leading to inconvenient work schedules and stops in destinations they would not normally choose. This is, of course, assuming the airline is comfortable employing a criminally inadmissible individual.
At worst, being found criminally inadmissible can lead to sanctions from the airline, and even dismissal. It is not unusual for airline personnel to receive suspensions or be put on leave until their criminal inadmissibility is resolved. For airlines, employing staff who do not have the ability to legally enter the country is a serious issue. Depending on the severity of the charges on their record and the amount of time that has elapsed since the completion of their sentence, different options might be available to them.
In severe cases, being criminally inadmissible can lead to termination of employment. Many airlines do not want to deal with the hassle of accommodating a criminally inadmissible individual and are not willing to wait for him or her to resolve this inadmissibility. Others might not consider that a criminally inadmissible individual reflects the values the airline represents.
The border officer has discretion
Even if an individual as never previously experienced any trouble at a Canadian Port of Entry, it is still possible for him or her to be denied entry to Canada. Border officers have a wide discretion in the exercise of their duties. Their individual assessment of an individual is important in terms of whether or not they are allowed to enter the country.
Often, individuals can be permitted to enter the country without the border officer doing an exhaustive background check. Even if the border officer sees some blemishes on the individual’s criminal record, it is within the officer’s power to allow the individual to enter Canada even though that individual might technically be inadmissible. This is especially the case as it concerns airline personnel, due to the fact that because of the nature of their occupation it is widely assumed that there are no legal restrictions on their ability to travel.
A criminal record may affect employment
In addition to current airline personnel, criminal inadmissibility can affect those wanting to join the airline industry as well. Most airlines require a detailed background check for potential employees, and many airlines will not employ somebody who has a criminal record. For this reason, it is important to look into how to resolve your criminal inadmissibility even before initiating the employment application process. If you do find that you are inadmissible, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of you losing out on an employment opportunity. Sometimes showing the airline proof that you have initiated the process of resolving your inadmissibility can alleviate their concerns and your candidacy may still be considered. It is important to show them that you are being proactive and are doing everything you can to maximize your chances of resolving the issue.
HUNTING OR FISHING TRIPS
Canada is a popular destination for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Residents of the U.S. are particularly well positioned to take advantage of the hunting and fishing opportunities on offer.
Canada’s diverse natural landscape allows for a wide variety of wildlife and terrain that appeal to hunters and anglers of all skill levels. Bears, fox, and deer are among the many animals that can be found in Canada’s forests, while salmon and trout are among the many species of fish that populate its lakes and rivers.
For many hunting and fishing aficionados, Canada is considered the ideal setting to practice their sport. For example, thousands of Americans decide to come to Canada to spend their vacation on a hunting or fishing trip in the great white North annually. Although most of these individuals will enter the country without incident, those with a criminal record could face an issue and risk being denied entry to Canada because they are criminally inadmissible.
If you are planning a trip to Canada and are unsure whether or not you are criminally inadmissible, it is wise to check with an experienced immigration attorney. This is particularly true in the context of a hunting or fishing trip for a few reasons.
Hunting and fishing trips are generally expensive.
Anyone who has gone on a hunting or fishing trip, or has looked into going on one, can attest to this. When you take into account transportation to the site, lodging, and equipment rental, hunting and fishing trips can carry a hefty price tag. Many of the associated expenses are non-refundable, which means that if you are turned away at the border, you will not only be deprived of an unforgettable experience, but some of your hard-earned money as well.
People often go on hunting and fishing trips in a group.
Because of this, an inadmissibility issue when attempting to enter Canada can lead to uncomfortable and potentially problematic situations. Individuals travelling with friends or family members may be embarrassed if stopped at the border, particularly if they were previously unaware of whatever is on one of their travelling party’s record. A potentially even more unpleasant and troublesome scenario is if you are traveling with work colleagues or an employer. Criminal charges on your record have the potential of causing repercussions at work, including the possibility of losing your job.
Travelling to the Canadian border can be a long trip.
Depending on your place of residence and your mode of transportation, the Canadian border may be far away. Consequently, a refusal at the border could be particularly distressing due to the significant waste of time and money. Logistical issues can also ensue if you are travelling in a group and some members of your party are not refused entry and decide to go on without you. You would have to figure out your own way home from the border, which is not always easy or cheap.
TRAVELLING TO AND FROM ALASKA
Due to its unique geographical location in relation to the rest of the United States, the state of Alaska is often at the centre of many Canadian inadmissibility issues.
The inability to enter Canada legally due to criminality can pose unexpected problems for inadmissible Americans travelling to or from Alaska. This occurs most often in one of two contexts:
Driving to/from Alaska through Canada
For those looking to travel by car from Alaska to the “lower 48”, or vice versa, a drive through Canada is a necessary leg of the journey. Because of this, an individual who is inadmissible to Canada and who has not taken the appropriate steps to resolve his inadmissibility will most likely have difficulty completing the trip. Many Americans believe that because they are merely passing through Canada, any past criminal charges will not be an issue at it concerns entering the country. This is unfortunately not the case and the regular rules of criminal inadmissibility apply.
Due to Alaska’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, Alaskan cruises are a popular alternative to the more traditional vacation destinations. Because Alaska is a part of the United States, it is unexpected that inadmissibility issues would come into play. This often results in an unpleasant surprise for those looking to embark on an Alaskan cruise.
The reason why Canadian criminal inadmissibility can pose a problem in this context is because most cruise companies with an Alaskan route include a stop in Canada. Vancouver and Victoria in province of British Columbia are the most common stops, and the duration of a stay usually ranges from a few hours to overnight, sometimes longer.
It is important to note that no matter how long an individual is in Canada as part of an Alaskan cruise, even if they don’t get off the boat, they can be determined to be criminally inadmissible. If this is found to be the case, then very often the individual is escorted off the ship and sent back to the U.S. Not only will this prevent him or her from witnessing Alaska’s majestic scenery, but it can result in uncomfortable and embarrassing situations if travel partners are unaware of any previous criminal convictions.
CROSS BORDER TRADE
Cross-border trade is an important part of both the American and the Canadian economies.
In today’s interconnected world, this trade is significantly easier as innovations in communications technology have allowed business dealings to be effectively conducted over long distances without needing the parties involved to be physically present. Despite this being the case, and no matter how advanced technology gets, some situations in the working world might require physical participation or call for face-to-face interaction.
For American citizens and residents with charges on their record, inadmissibility to Canada can pose problems when such situations necessitate travel north of the border. This primarily occurs in one of two contexts:
Cross-Border Business Relationships
Many Americans have work-related ties in Canada, the nature and importance of which vary widely depending on the circumstances. Whether going to see a client, an employer, a supplier or a distributor, the need to travel to Canada is not uncommon for certain Americans who have dealings with Canadian companies or residents.
While most of this business is unaffected by its cross-border nature, this is unfortunately often not the case for those Americans who have been arrested and/or charged with an offence. Such individuals might have serious difficulty when attempting to enter Canada, and can encounter heavy scrutiny from Canadian immigration authorities.
Many Americans may be surprised that even a seemingly minor incident on one’s record can affect their ability to carry out their work in Canada. Because most work-related trips to Canada are of a short duration and are often beneficial to the Canadian economy, individuals may not expect to be met with resistance when crossing the Canadian border.
However, in many cases, no matter how significant a benefit Canada might derive from an individual being able to conduct his or her business in Canada, he or she is denied entry to the country.
If determined to be inadmissible, individuals can be refused entry to Canada. The repercussions of this can be wide ranging and have the potential to extend beyond the one particular trip not taking place. The Canadian business relationship can be jeopardized, and the individual’s employment might even be put at risk. If someone is in danger of being denied entry, there are steps he or she can to minimize the chances that their livelihood will be effected by mistakes from their past.
Conferences, conventions, and trade shows
Canada is often the setting for events that are geared towards specific industries or that cater to certain groups of people with shared interests. In addition to serving as an opportunity to socialize and network with like-minded individuals and colleagues, these events often play a pivotal role in marketing a particular company’s product or service. They can also lead to collaboration and innovation within an industry, and can be revealing as to its general direction and trends.
For these reasons it is often important that Americans be able to attend these events. They may need to do so for any number of reasons and in different capacities. Some could be compelled to attend simply out of interest, others can do so for the purposes of market research, while others might be active participants or even organizers of the events. In many cases Americans are either directly or indirectly financially vested in the event, such that their inability to attend will negatively impact their bottom line.
In these situations being found inadmissible to Canada can and does cause an issue for many Americans with blemishes on their criminal record. In many situations, such individuals are turned away from the border and denied entry to Canada for the same reasons and in the same manner as described above. Criminal inadmissibility is taken seriously by Canadian immigration authorities.
TRANSITTING THROUGH CANADA
Even if only in transit through Canada, inadmissibility can still pose problems to travelers who have a charge on their record.
In addition to being a common travel destination, many international flight itineraries include a connection in Canada. Several Canadian cities located on or near the coast serve as gateways to popular destinations located in Europe, Asia, the United States, and throughout the world.
Due to the fact that most flight routes through Canada entail only a transient, short term stay in the country, one might not expect that Canadian inadmissibility issues might have an impact on such a trip.
Unfortunately, as intuitive as this expectation is, problems relating to inadmissibility can occur for individuals seeking to transit through Canada. This is because to catch a connecting flight at one of Canada’s airports, travelers are often required to pass through Canadian customs. When this is the case, in the eyes of Canadian border authorities, there is no difference between entering Canada to transit through the country, and entering Canada to stay.
In both situations, immigration officers must ensure that the traveler does not pose a security risk to Canada. Therefore, the standard rules of Canadian inadmissibility apply. Because of this, even if the final destination is not on Canadian soil, many trips have been cut short as a result of the traveler being found inadmissible to Canada.
PERFORMED OR CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN CANADA
Crimes performed in Canada
An individual who has cleared the Canadian border and not been deemed to be a security risk may believe that inadmissibility does not come into play.
It is a common misconception that any sentence for a crime committed in Canada would be served within Canada. After all, how can an individual be found inadmissible when he or she has in fact already been admitted to the country?
Unfortunately, a conviction within Canada can lead to a determination of criminal inadmissibility. Despite these similar effects, the methods of resolving inadmissibility resulting from a Canadian conviction differ in some respects to crimes carried out abroad.
When is one inadmissible?
Whereas for an offence committed outside Canada an individual is inadmissible as of the time when the charge is laid, this is not the case for offences within Canada.
Canadian offences render an individual inadmissible only when an actual conviction takes place, and not before. This is due to the phrasing in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which makes the distinction between “committing an act” that constitutes an offence, and a conviction for an offence. When somebody receives a charge outside Canada for committing an act that constitutes an offence, he or she is immediately inadmissible, whereas an actual conviction is required for inadmissibility to ensue as a result of an offence within Canada.
How to resolve inadmissibility permanently
Although criminal rehabilitation is the application to pursue to resolve inadmissibility for an offence committed outside Canada, a different procedure must be followed in the event of a conviction within Canada. This procedure is called a record suspension, and it is a process comparable to criminal rehabilitation, as the focus of the application is similar.
In both applications, the emphasis is on how the individual has bettered himself or herself since the offence and is consequently unlikely to re-offend in a similar manner. The eligibility period differs slightly, however, as one may apply for a record suspension five years after completing the sentence for a summary conviction offence, or 10 years after completing the sentence for an indictable offence. This distinction does not exist with regard to criminal rehabilitation, and in all cases the individual is eligible to apply five years after completion of the sentence.
How to resolve inadmissibility temporarily
The appropriate action to take is the same, regardless of whether the offence took place inside or outside of Canada. Before the individual is eligible for a record suspension, in order to remain in the country legally, or enter the country if trying to come back after having been previously convicted in Canada, he or she must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
Aside from the different lengths of time during which the only possibility for being in Canada legally is a TRP, as opposed to either a record suspension or criminal rehabilitation, the general TRP rules apply.
Charged with a Crime within Canada
A previous charge on one’s record can render an individual inadmissible to Canada. But what if someone is charged with an offence and is already in Canada on a temporary permit, either working, studying, or visiting?
If an individual has already been admitted to the country, what effect does a determination of inadmissibility have on his or her status in the country, and what steps can he or she take to resolve the situation?
When someone is charged with an offence within Canada, the individual is not inadmissible until he or she has been convicted for this offence. So the first course of action that can be taken to prevent being found inadmissible pertains to avoiding a conviction in the first place. One manner through which this may be accomplished is a legal opinion letter addressed to the judicial authority hearing the case.
If this does not work, and a conviction should result nonetheless, then the individual must take steps to remain in the country legally. In such a case, the individual cannot apply for criminal rehabilitation because he or she would not be eligible as the requisite amount of time would not have passed. Therefore, he or she can only apply for a temporary waiver that will excuse his or her inadmissibility and allow him or her to remain in the country legally. This is called a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP).
Being found inadmissible when an individual is already in the country presents a unique situation that must be dealt with in a different manner than typical inadmissibility cases.
If you are applying to become a temporary or permanent resident in Canada, learning that your application has been refused can be devastating.
Fortunately, you may have recourse. An immigration officer’s decision to refuse an application may be challenged if the decision was wrong in fact or in law, or unreasonable with regards to the facts at hand and the quality of the file presented to the officers. Depending on the facts of the case, it can also be a rightful decision, but one that can be overturned in light of humanitarian considerations.
All decisions taken by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that affect an application can be presented to the Federal Court, which will first decide if the case merits a hearing (prima facie unreasonable) or if it raises an important question of Law. An example of this could be a work or study permit application that is refused despite substantial evidence that could favour its approval.
A consultant from our practice can help you assess whether the refusal meets the threshold for judicial review, or whether it may be advisable to reapply with additional information.
The refusal of an application for permanent residence can also be contested before the Immigration Appeal Division, in the case of refused sponsorships, for example. The refusal of an application for permanent residence can also be contested before the Federal Court, as would be the case for a refused skilled worker application.
If warranted in your particular situation, we can do the following:
Reconsideration letters. If the refusal was based on an error in fact or in law, and/or if that decision was not in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, we will write to the program manager of the Canadian Visa Office in question to point out the errors and to request a reconsideration of the refusal.
If no response is received or a negative response is received, we can seek the appropriate legal proceedings if the case appears to be worth pursuing:
For applications rejected by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada at the federal level, recourses are usually presented before the Immigration Appeal Division or the Federal Court.
For applications rejected by the Ministère de l’immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (Quebec only, for permanent immigration applications), recourses are usually presented before the Tribunal administratif du Québec or the Superior Court of Quebec.
ASSUME LEGAL REPRESENTATION
You may have submitted an application for a Permanent Resident Visa on your own, or you may have retained a lawyer or consultant to represent your interests.
Now, for whatever reason, you want to have someone else in control of your application. This happens quite often. Many of our clients retain our services after they have begun the Canadian immigration process on their own or with the help of someone else.
You may retain our lmmigration Practice at any time to fully represent you in your effort to obtain a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa.
We can do the following:
Advise Canadian immigration authorities. We will provide the Canadian Immigration Visa Office with a new Use of Representative Form stating that we are your legal representative in connection with your application for a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa;
Order and analyze a copy of the Canadian Immigration Visa Office notes pertaining to your application and, if necessary, a copy of your application and supporting documents from the Access To Information Department of the Canadian Government;
Correct, augment and/or revise, if possible, any part of the application that is deficient on your behalf; and
Communicate on your behalf with the Canadian Immigration Visa Office that is processing your application until there has been a final disposition of your application.
MEDICAL ADMISSABILITY REQUIREMENTS
Every applicant for a Canada Immigration Visa and some applicants for temporary status in Canada are required to undergo a medical examination by a medical officer.
Though medical examinations are generally confined to a standard physical exam, including blood tests, urine tests, and x-rays, prior medical records and the applicant's mental state are also examined.
Applicants may be denied a Canada Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa solely on medical grounds, if:
Their condition would endanger the health or safety of the Canadian population at large; or
Their admission might cause excessive demand on existing social or health services provided by the government.*
When determining whether any person is inadmissible on medical grounds, the medical officer is obliged to consider the nature, severity, and probable duration of any health impairment from which the person is suffering as well as other factors, such as:
Danger of contagion;
Unpredictable or unusual behaviour that may create a danger to public safety; and
The supply of social or health services that the person may require in Canada and whether the use of such services will deprive Canadian nationals of these services.
When it comes to permanent residency and refusals based on health reasons, it is possible to consider seeking a legal solution by demonstrating that the applicant will, in fact, not exceed the estimated average costs of medical treatment of Canadians or that there are important humanitarian considerations that should warrant an exception. This can be done by providing a detailed response to a fairness letter from the government prior to a refusal or by seeking a judicial review in Federal Court if the decision appears unreasonable.
In certain circumstances, for temporary stays in Canada, an individual who does not meet the Canadian medical requirements may be granted a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to enter Canada.
*The excessive demand component is waived under the Family Sponsorship category of Canada immigration for the spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner and dependent children of the sponsor. The sponsored person(s) still may be refused if their condition is considered to be a danger to Canadian public health or safety.