Screening Out

HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience

Release Date: 1st May 2022 – For more information and to pre-order, go to the University of British Columbia Press website.

By Laura Bisaillon

Canada’s population grows because of and through its immigration program. But what happens for people with HIV who apply to settle permanently? The immigration system – a core social institution in Canada – includes mandatory HIV screening within a medical inadmissibility regime designed to exclude people with HIV.

This is a narrative-driven analysis of the medico-legal and administrative practices governing immigration to Canada. Following the sequence of events in the application process of a woman from sub-Saharan Africa in her interactions with an immigration doctor of western European descent, Screening Out is an ethnographic mapping of the Canadian immigration process from the perspective of the very people to whom the exclusionary health policy is directed.