- Immigration Canada issues “procedural fairness letters” to families when “medical inadmissibility” condition exists in any one of the family members who has applied to become a Canadian permanent resident.
- Legal experts opine that such families are being unfairly treated by immigration officials and in a few cases, the federal government itself may be the law-breaker here, with devastating consequences for the families who wish to move to Canada.
- The crux of the matter is the federal government’s failure to provide specific cost estimates in its “procedural fairness letters”
- Whenever the applicant or any one of the family member is found to have a disability or medical condition, the federal government claims that Canada’s publicly-funded social and health services might be placed under duress
- As per law, such procedural fairness letters should well outline the government’s concern regarding an applicant’s medical condition or disability, including but not limited to the “likely cost” of these services
- A Global News investigation has found that these laws aren’t adhered by the immigration officials who just list the services the applicant may require but without any cost estimates involved, a direct violation of the law.
A Toronto-based immigration lawyer Adrienne Smith, who was also a former analyst at Immigration Canada says that “[Immigration Canada] is breaking the law”. This is a breach of the fundamental rights of the applicant.
Case in Point
Samrat Saha, his wife Shelly (both aged 38 years) and their six-year-old son Rajarshi had moved from India to work for an IT company in Toronto in 2013.
- They had applied for permanent residence in Canada in 2014 but got turned down in May 2017 as their son was discovered to have autism
- Saha says that he’s very willing to bear the cost of any additional expenses for the services his son will require, but he also says that the federal government hasn’t provided any estimate of cost for these services
- Saha has already spent about $7000 while applying for the permanent residency and estimates an additional spend of about $12000 for his family to stay back in Canada
While more such cases are surfacing, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) agrees that the law requires the government to provide the likely cost estimates to such applicants so that the applicants can then take an informed decision about it.
When the debate rages, people like Saha are left with nothing but worries about their future. He appeals “Help us to stay in this country, then we can pay the rest of the costs for my son. We don’t have a problem. We can manage that.”
Will the Canadian federal government listen?