One of the top priorities of relocating to a new country is to research and examine the accessibility, quality, and affordability of available health care services. When it comes to the best public health care systems in the world, Canada ranks top 4 in the survey for the 2021 Best Countries Report. It is also worth mentioning that Canada ranked number 1 in the Quality-of-Life sub-ranking and number 1 in the Best Countries overall rank.
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With so many great benefits to living in Canada, including Canadas healthcare system, it’s no surprise that thousands of people move to Canada every year.
Even with the Covid-19 pandemic around, still there is good news for immigrant applicants with disabilities this year. In the March 16th issue of the Canada Gazette, the medical inadmissibility rules for Canadian immigrants 2018 pilot are set to be changed into a permanent policy as announced by the federal government. The plan is to loosen the restrictions thus making it less difficult for foreign nationals who have disabilities to obtain the coveted Canadian permanent residency.
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The Health Admissibility Provisions for Immigration Applicants
Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act section 38 (1) (c), immigration applicants are considered inadmissible if they have health conditions that are said to cause excessive demand for the services of Canada’s healthcare system. Such provision was designed to lessen impacts on public funds allocated for Canada universal healthcare. On the other hand, it also brought heartaches to immigration applicants with conditions that would require personal care costing more than the average $7000 per Canadian per year under the old rule.
The inadmissibility policy does not only pertain to an applicant’s disabilities but also includes any physical and medical conditions that need Canadas healthcare and social services. Moreover, even if the applicant himself or herself is not inadmissible but he or she has a medically inadmissible dependent, then permanent residence cannot be granted.
The Hilewitz Family Case
An article from the CIC News had presented an example from a Supreme Court case in 2005 (Hilewitz v. Canada). It is about a family member with a dependent having a serious mental disability seeking to migrate in Canada. Upon thorough examination, the immigration officer had found that cost of social services needed for the son of the wealthy South African parents is more than average. The parents, together with their son, were declared inadmissible by the officer.
The decision was challenged by the Hilewitz family. The parents presented proof of their son, Gavin’s treatment in South Africa was consistently shouldered by the family out of their own pockets. With their own funds, the family had put up a school for Gavin and others having the same challenges. Moreover, they had demonstrated their capability and plan of bearing the cost required for the social services needed by their son in Canada.
The officer’s decision was overturned by Justice Abella. The permanent residence application was sent back to IRCC for redetermination and consideration of the assistance that the Hilewitz parents were willing to provide for their son.
The 2018 Pilot Policy
In 2018, Ahmed Hussein, the immigration officer at that time, created an experimental pilot policy that is more lenient. Hussein changed the definition of excessive demand to three times the average Canadian’s cost of health and social services. It means that from $7,000, the maximum demand is increased to $21,000. In addition, then-minister Hussein removed several social services for people with disabilities from the calculations for excessive demand determination. The removal targeted costs for non-professional personal support services such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation; occupational and behavioral therapy; and special education.
The temporary policy has allowed the government of Canada to experiment using an approach that is less rigid. It also allowed them to evaluate the results and reception. There are indications from the administering provinces and territories that they find the policy change a reasonable balance. The removal from cost calculations of certain treatments had gained acclamation from advocates for people with disabilities saying it eliminates the feeling of indignation against such individuals. Also, having not to evaluate those factors saves not only time but also money for IRCC considering the cost and complexity of the assessment.
Canada’s Healthcare System in a Glimpse
As mentioned earlier, Canada’s healthcare system is exceptional. A contributing factor would be the dynamic system of how the government publicly funds its healthcare. The government is open to creating reforms that adapt to the changing needs in the Canada universal healthcare system.
One thing remains the same – the government provides universal coverage for the necessary medical health care services. And what is more impressive is that Canadas healthcare is not based on the patients’ ability to pay but based on their needs.
The publicly funded Canada universal healthcare system, otherwise known as Canadian Medicare, is decentralized. The 13 provinces and territories of the country are the ones who fund and administer their respective healthcare. Each has an insurance plan on its own and the federal government gives cash assistance on a per-capita basis.
There is a variation in the benefits as well as the delivery approaches. However, medically necessary hospital and physician services are provided to all citizens and permanent residents free at the point of use. Targeted groups are provided some coverage by provinces and territories in order to pay for services that are excluded. These include dental care and outpatient prescription drugs, among others. In addition, the majority of Canadians have private insurance – about 2/3 of the population.
Canada’s Strategies to Ensure Quality of Care
The following are strategies that are put in place to ensure quality in Canadas healthcare:
Many provinces are assigned dedicated agencies to produce reports on the healthcare system and to monitor the performance of the system.
Regular public reports on health system performance are produced by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The reports include indicators of the performance of hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Summary inspection reports are posted online in most provinces.
For home care agencies, the Home Care Reporting System from the Canadian Institute for Health Information is being used. It contains resource utilization, clinical, functional, and demographic data for clients served by programs across Canada that are publicly funded.
There is limited use of financial incentives to improve quality. At the physician level, there had been the little demonstrable effect on quality.
Physicians are subject to professional revalidation requirements. This includes continuing education and peer review. Such requirements vary across provinces.
Immigrating to Canada
Knowing that your needs will be accommodated in the country you’re moving to is a big advantage. Career opportunities, a safe environment, and clean air are all great – but if your health is at stake and there’s no one to lend a hand, you’re in big trouble.
Now, Canada has made bigger steps in an effort to accommodate would-be immigrants with disabilities. Even as far as re-budgeting services and changing definitions of what should be considered a basic service and what should be considered a “special” service.
If you dream of obtaining a Canadian permanent residence visa, UIS Canada can help facilitate the process. There are many visa types and immigration services you can take advantage of. We can also help in liaising complicated cases with the immigration authorities.
Contact an immigration specialist today to start your successful immigration process to Canada.