Medical Inadmissibility to Canada

Medical Inadmissibility to Canada

Faten is a citizen of Saudi Arabia. She is in the process of immigrating to Canada. Faten’s new husband is a Canadian citizen. To live together, he has sponsored her to Canada. Faten recently underwent a medical examination and realized she has type 2 diabetes. Consequently, she wonders if the disease prevents her from immigrating to Canada and joining her husband. Is Fatan inadmissible to Canada?

One of the objectives of the Canadian immigration system is to protect the safety and health of Canadians. As a result, if you want to immigrate to Canada, you need to show an immigration officer that you are not inadmissible to our country because of medical issues.

What could cause medical inadmissibility in Canada?

Under section 38 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), you could become inadmissible for one of the following reasons.

  • You are likely to be a danger to the health of Canadians.
  • You are likely to be a danger to the safety of Canadians.
  • Your health conditions may cause excessive demand for health or social services.

A danger to public health

At the moment, IRCC considers the following as grounds for medical inadmissibility because of being a danger to the public health of Canadians:

  • Active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)
  • Untreated syphilis

They find people with these conditions inadmissible to Canada. Therefore, if you suffer from any of these conditions, seek medical treatment before applying for immigration to Canada. Also, if you are suffering from any severe contagious disease, treat it first. Remember that IRCC may issue a temporary ban on immigration for specific people or regions of the world because of the outbreak of serious illnesses. For example, we have had advisories and bans on Ebola and Avian influenza (Bird flu).

A danger to public safety

Persons who could endanger the safety of Canadians could become inadmissible to Canada. Some examples include the following:

  • certain impulsive sociopathic behaviour disorders;
  • some aberrant sexual disorders such as pedophilia;
  • certain paranoid states or some organic brain syndromes associated with violence or risk of harm to others;
  • applicants with substance abuse leading to antisocial behaviours such as violence and impaired driving; and
  • other types of hostile, disruptive behaviour (source).

Causing excessive demand

If your health condition results in any of the following, you may not immigrate to Canada:

  • Increasing the medical wait time of Canadians to the point that the rate of mortality or morbidity increases or
  • putting a significant strain on the amount of money the Canadian universal healthcare system has to spend for you.

You may ask, what does significant strain mean? The current figure is $25,689 annually (last updated January 1, 2023). The officers usually consider five years for their calculations. In other words, you may become inadmissible if your expenses exceed $128,445 for five years from entering Canada. Honestly, I simplified the matter as much as possible. Still, the calculations and factors you need to consider are much more complicated than this regarding excessive demand.


Nobody is exempt from the danger to public health and safety provisions, but the following people are exempt from the excessive demand:

Who conducts medical examinations?

A panel physician conducts medical examinations (exceptions exist). A typical medical exam consists of an interview, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and a chest x-ray. Depending on your health conditions and application type, a medical exam’s scope could change. The IRCC website posts the list of panel physicians.

The panel physician uploads your information to a secure website. A medical officer reviews the report and then informs your immigration officer whether or not you pass the medical examination. They issue you a medical certificate if you pass, but they usually do not share it with you. The immigration officer may request further tests or send you a procedural fairness letter.

What is a Procedural Fairness Letter?

If you receive a procedural fairness letter, the officer suspects or believes you are inadmissible to Canada because of medical issues. If you agree with them, you may not immigrate to Canada. However, you could fight back. Consult with a professional if you have received a procedural fairness letter. Don’t take this matter lightly.

Medical examination for temporary status

Immigration officers may request medical tests for temporary cases as well. For example, you may receive a medical examination request for your TRV (visitor’s visa), TRP, Study Permit, or Work Permit applications. Generally speaking, most people do not receive such correspondence, but you have to comply if you do.

You may face limitations if you do not undergo a medical examination for your work permit. For example, you may not work in:

  • childcare services,
  • healthcare services,
  • primary or secondary schools, and
  • farming industry if you are from a particular country.

If you are from certain countries and want to work for more than six months in Canada, you must undergo a medical examination.

Medical surveillance

Sometimes the officers allow you to enter Canada but ask you to undergo medical surveillance. In other words, you need to introduce yourself to the healthcare authorities of your province of destination. Then they will examine you now and again. The surveillance is usually every six months for five years or so.

Overcoming medical inadmissibility

If you receive a procedural fairness letter, you may try to fight back, but if you fail, you may consider the following solutions:

Consider reading my article on the subject of the upfront medical exam.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.