Last fall the federal Parliamentary committee on Immigration and Citizenship issued a report which recommended a full withdraw of a horribly biased and oppressive government policy. Currently, this policy states if a potential immigrant or a member of their family wanting to come to Canada had a disability or significant medical needs, their application can be rejected. Admissibility determinations are based currently on whether an immigrant’s anticipated costs are expected to exceed the average Canadian per-capita cost of health or social services over a five-year period, or whether the immigrant could add to an existing waiting list and delay health care for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The government stated this 40-year-old policy did not align with Canada’s values of inclusion, to which I totally agree. Canada is great country where multicultural ideals of equality, openness and compassion are celebrated. Although discrimination can, in its many forms, creep into our institutions; sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly.
For example, last week the federal Liberal government announced they would “loosen” this immigration policy, but not entirely withdraw it…or at least not yet. The Minister of Immigration and Citizenship told Canadians that they would “eventually” eliminate it. So, the government has recognized a practice that is discriminatory and wrong, and
they know they need to end it, but they have decided to only partially repeal the regulation and continue to only be partially discriminatory.
Under the revised policy, newcomers can still be denied permanent residency if they or any of their children have developmental delays, special education requirements, or a hearing or visual impairment. The anticipated health-care cost threshold — the sum a prospective immigrant can’t exceed in annual health care costs in order to be admissible
— will now simply be increased to about $20,000 a year – which is approximately three times the previous threshold.
I find this unacceptable. We cannot allow this policy to remain for it represents the belief that a newcomer is seen first and foremost as a potential drain or burden to our country, instead of a asset. Despite the government’s vague assurances that the policy will be repealed, the Liberals often promise a great deal more than they deliver.
For governments and politicians to deliver true leadership, they must make responsible, respectful, honest and decent choices. They cannot get by on rhetoric alone. What Canadians and those soon to be Canadians need is action, not empty
more promises. The Liberals must end these discriminatory practices now. The time for more consultation and studies is over. Let’s get it done.