Medical Inadmissibility to Canada

Medical Inadmissibility to CanadaFaten 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.

Which Medical Issues Do Make You Inadmissible to 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.
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A Danger to Public Health

At the moment, IRCC considers the following 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, make sure to treat it first. Remember that IRCC may issue a temporary ban on immigration for certain people or specific 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).

This list is just for guidance. The officers review applications on a case-by-case basis.

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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 the 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 $24,057 per year (last updated on January 4, 2022). The officers usually consider five years for their calculations. In other words, if your expenses exceed $120,285 for five years from the time you enter Canada, then you may become inadmissible. 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 Does Conduct Medical Examinations?

A panel physician conducts medical examinations. A typical medical exam consists of an interview, physical examination, laboratory tests, and chest x-ray. Depending on your health conditions and your application’s type, the scope of a medical exam 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 you pass the medical examination or not. The 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 correspondences, but you have to comply if you do.

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

  • childcare services,
  • healthcare services,
  • primary or secondary schools, and
  • farming industry if you are from certain countries.

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

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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:

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

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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