Medical Exclusion

Did you know that if the late Stephen Hawking had wanted to settle in Canada, he would likely have been denied? This is because he was disabled.

Federal immigration law and policy and practices to which these give rise exclude people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic difference from permanently settling on health grounds, with some exceptions. “Medical inadmissibility” is the official term of the state decision-making process involving bureaucratic and professional practices organized to detect, diagnose, and exclude such persons because of assumptions made about them.

Rhetorically, the immigration system is understood to enable immigrants to create a good life in Canada. Elided from this interpretation, however, are the lives that people lead after they are rejected for residency, or what their lives end up being about.

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Screening Out is critically important to scholarship in (im)migration and health. Its concrete recommendations for policy change are key. 

Jennifer A. Liu, University of Waterloo