immigration medical examination

Using an alternate medical practitioner for the immigration medical examination

IRCC has updated its policies to provide clarification on requests to use an alternative medical practitioner for the immigration medical examination. However, IRCC said that the clarification on how it will respond to these requests is available internally only. Why? We are not sure, but let’s explore when an applicant can use an alternative medical practitioner.

Using an alternate medical practitioner

According to IRCC, there are exceptional circumstances where applicants may not be in a position to access a panel physician. In that case, due to IRCC’s obligations under the Official Languages Act, the Migration Health Branch may temporarily authorize a non-panel physician. This non-panel physician, also known as “dispensation”, will perform an immigration medical examination for in-Canada applicants.

IRCC mentioned that in accordance with the Official Languages Act:

“Dispensation is considered for applicants in Canada when no panel physician is able to offer services in the applicant’s preferred official language within either 250 km or 4 hours (one way) of the applicant’s residence.”

Procedures for requesting dispensation

The authority to grant the dispensation rests with the Migration Health Branch. In consultation with the appropriate regional medical office and/or migration office, the Migration Health Branch determines if the request for dispensation is reasonable.

The update says that requests for dispensation must be submitted directly by the applicant or their representative through the IRCC Call Centre. The Call Centre directs all dispensation requests and should ensure that the applicant or the applicant’s representative has provided both of the following:

  • the doctor’s contact information
  • confirmation that the doctor is willing to conduct the medical examination

For more information on the doctors authorized by IRCC, please visit the Panel Physician webpage.

Relevant information

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