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Canada Makes Higher Medical Cost Threshold for Immigration Candidates Permanent

The higher medical cost threshold for immigration candidates in Canada has been made permanent

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada has made a temporary policy on medical inadmissibility permanent and it is for those people living with physical disabilities, chronic conditions or an ongoing need for social services.

Ottawa made that temporary policy, the Temporary Public Policy regarding Excessive Demand on Health and Social Services which went into effect on June 1, 2018, permanent on March 17.

Beatrice Fenelon in an email said “the policy increased the existing cost threshold to three times the average canadian per capita cost of health and social services and modified the definition of social services to remove the reference to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services.”

Medical cost threshold rises by 10.4% to $24,057

The annual cost threshold per person for a foreign national seeking permanent residence in Canada this year is $24,057 per year or $120,285 over five years. That is the estimated amount of money by which an applicant’s health and social services would exceed the canadian average.

The cost threshold for last year was $21,798 or three times the average cost of those services for a canadian $7,266. This year, the cost went up by 10.4% to show three times the $8,019 it costs on average for a canadian to get healthcare and social services every year.

This figure and the annual cost threshold is used to determine whether an immigrant would put a burden on canadian taxpayers or not. The higher the cost threshold, the more willing Canada will admit people living with disabilities and shoulder any costs resulting from needed treatment for their medical or psychological conditions.

Fenelon also said that the value of the excessive demand cost threshold is updated every year based on health spending per capita by federal, provincial and territorial givernments as reported by the canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) in their annual National Health Expenditure Trends report.

So Ottawa made what has been a temporary policy a permanent one with its amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Excessive Demand) which was published on March 16, 2022.

Fenelon further said that these changes would strike a balance between welcoming newcomers into canadian society through a fair and compassionate immigration system and also protecting publicly-funded health and social services.

About 85% of applicants who would have previously been refused under the old definition of excessive demand were approved under the new policy even after Canada increased its cost threshold.

The costs considered to calculate an applicant’s likely needs for social services and healthcare are:

Palliative care

Medical aid, appliances and prostheses

Homecare by a nurse, physiotherapist, respiratory therapist or another care provider

Physician services

Day facilities providing constant supervision

Psychological counseling

Hospital services

Nursing services


Psychiatric services

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services

Supplies related to these services

Residential facilities including long-term care and substance abuse services

The cost threshold for excessive demand is a very serious thing that is always considered and can prevent an immigration application from getting the green light even though it is not given much attention when it come to discussions about immigration to Canada.

When are exceptions to the policy made?

Exceptions to the policy can be made on Humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

When 27-year-old Mehdi Oussama Belhadji Hassine an international student who graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island, suffered a psychotic attack in July 2021, he needed treatment for his schizophrenia.

He had already applied for Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) and was also reported to have sought for refugee status in Canada.

Lee Cohen who was the lawyer representing Mehdi said that he was taken to the hospital to receive mental health care. He said that he was admitted involuntarily and while he was there under the protection of the people who were supposed to treat him, they informed the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Border agency officials recommended that Belhadj who was born in Saudi Arabia, was in poor health and should be removed from the country. His lawyer and a Prince Edward Island-based organization, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour United for Strength Home, Relationship, intervened on Belhadj’s behalf.

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