Travelling or immigrating to Canada with monkeypox

It seems monkeypox is our new reality. However, can monkeypox affect your plans to move to Canada? Let’s explore this question here.

What is monkeypox?

According to Health Canada, monkeypox is a viral disease that usually has the following symptoms:

  • The first five to 21 days are asymptomatic. Therefore, despite being exposed, the patient does not show any symptoms.
  • Stage one of monkeypox follows the asymptomatic period with the following symptoms:
    • fever
    • chills
    • headache
    • swollen lymph nodes
    • back pain
    • muscle pain
    • joint pain
    • exhaustion
  • The first stage usually lasts for one to three days. However, stage two follows with developing a rash.
  • The second stage could last between 14 to 21 days. The rash eventually forms a scab and then falls off.

Monkeypox is mild in most people. Nonetheless, it could result in severe illness and even death. Therefore, contact a healthcare professional if you feel significantly unwell.

Inadmissibility because of health conditions

Before focusing on monkeypox, let’s explore medical inadmissibility in Canada. A foreign national could become inadmissible to Canada because of health conditions. Here are three main reasons as described under the IRPA.

  • A danger to public health: IRCC considers untreated syphilis and active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) grounds for medical inadmissibility. However, they may adjust this list from time to time.
  • A danger to public safety: Serious uncontrollable or uncontrolled mental health problems could fall under this category. Here are some examples from the IRCC website:
    • 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.
  • Causing excessive demand for health or social services: IRCC looks at the effects of the disease on Universal Healthcare in Canada, both in terms of expenses and the rate of mortality and morbidity. Some exceptions apply (e.g., sponsored spouses and protected people are exempt). Moreover, they adjust their threshold for excessive demand every year.

I have written another article with more information on medical inadmissibility. Nonetheless, permanent residents and Canadian citizens are immune to medical inadmissibility in Canada. Monkeypox won’t affect these two groups at all. 

Can monkeypox make you inadmissible to Canada?

At this stage, monkeypox does not fall under any of the inadmissibility categories in Canada. However, if you show symptoms, do not travel to Canada. Symptomatic individuals could face quarantine or denial of entry at the border crossings. Moreover, Canadian authorities could issue travel restrictions for monkeypox in the future if they believe the disease affects public health.

Be mindful of travel restrictions for monkeypox and other diseases

Immigration restrictions are not the only restrictions you could face. Sometimes Canada introduces travel restrictions to the country. If we encounter a monkeypox endemic or pandemic, there is a chance we will see such restrictions in place. Visit the Government of Canada’s website for the latest information.

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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.