Medical Inadmissibility Regime

Scholarly Definition

Federal immigration law excludes people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness from immigrating permanently, with some exceptions. This is referred to as being made medically inadmissible. The medical inadmissibility process is accomplished through the coordinated work practices of bureaucrats and professionals inside and outside Canada. The details of the work these bureaucrats and professionals do constitutes, coordinates, and accomplishes medical inadmissibility through their empirical decision-making practices.

Artist Statement

The medical vetting of would-be immigrants, and the policies and practices related to probing and prodding the ill and infirm that support it, pre-date Canada’s 1867 Confederation. Through this illustration, gates to Canada are guarded by faceless judges holding oversized gavels, integral to their work. Chains outline the caduceus, making the point that people are kept outside the gate because of their medical status. In the background, reams of immigration-related paperwork are to the side and underneath of the judge’s feet. The Canadian flag hangs above, approvingly. A doormat, normally used to welcome others across a threshold, is, here, a sign of conditional welcome: those with medical issues cannot proceed. Judges are faceless, and this is on purpose. Upholding a regime informed by mid-19th century assumptions built on prejudice about people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness no longer suits anyone we have talked to about this issue.

Digital art © Amy Zhang and Ujwal Mantha