Disability Group TO Call for Repeal of Discriminatory Provision in Canada’s Immigration Act

For Immediate Release November 17, 2017

When: Monday, November 20, 2017
Place: Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Room 415, 197 Sparks Street
Time: 6:30 pm

The Council of Canadians With Disabilities (CCD), a national, human rights organization of persons with various disabilities that is working for a more inclusive and accessible Canada, will call for repeal of the “Excessive Demands” provisions in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act when it appears before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on Monday evening, November 20, 2017.

“Disability is the last major characteristic that remains a barrier to settling and building a life in Canada, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities believes this provision is outdated and discriminatory and must be removed from the Act,” says John Rae, 1st Vice Chair of the Council.

The medical inadmissibility provision of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) contains an exclusion of persons who would create an “excessive demand” on social and health services from becoming permanent residents.

Scholars, citizen groups, including CCD, and litigants have challenged the provision on the basis that it is arbitrary and discriminates against persons with disabilities.

This provision is based on the old medical model of disability, which is especially outdated and inappropriate at a time when the federal government is in the midst of developing a federal act that Canadians with disabilities hope will bring tangible improvements in their lives. “This act should include amendment of some existing statutes, and the IRPA is a prime example,” adds Rae.

James Hicks, CCD’s National Coordinator says CCD’s office is contacted several times each year by families who are trying to immigrate to Canada, and are experiencing difficulties, usually due to a son or daughter’s disability. “Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) should have remedied this problem, but so far it hasn’t.” Article 18 of the Convention specifically covers liberty of movement and nationality.

Hicks added, “Canada’s immigration process recognizes the value of keeping a family together, and this must be extended to immigrants with disabilities.”

“CCD is delighted the Standing Committee is holding hearings focusing on the Excessive Demands portion of the IRPA and CCD and other disability rights organizations across Canada are anxious and willing to assist the Department to implement a new era for immigrants with disabilities,” added Rae.

For further information, please contact:

James Hicks
CCD National Coordinator
Tel: 343-291-1118
Email: james@ccdonline.ca

John Rae
CCD 1st Vice Chair
Tel: 416-941-1547
Email: thepenguin@rogers.com