November 15th Update – We submitted this letter with 47 organizational endorsers, and over 900 individual names to the Parliamentary Committee! Keep signing this page, as every signature is an email to the MPs and a reminder that we are watching!
Josarie Danieles has been separated from her daughter Precious Ann for seven years. Seven painful years of missed birthdays, family holidays, and touching screens rather than hugging her child.
Josarie came to Canada and worked as a Caregiver. She has fulfilled all the requirements, and should have been granted permanent residency. But she is being denied because Immigration Canada believes her daughter would cause an ‘excessive demand’ on the health care system.
Right now, a Federal Parliamentary Committee is looking into this issue. Add your name right now and urge them to end discriminatory laws. When you add your name, the letter below will be emailed the appropriate Members of Parliament.
The discriminatory sections of the Immigration Act, Section 38(1)(a) and 38(1)(c) need to be overturned immediately. This is a first step. Disability is just one of the grounds under which hundreds of thousand of people are either forced to work, study or live in Canada temporarily or are denied permanent residency. We need fundamental immigration overhaul and that means full permanent residency status for all migrants now, and on arrival for those coming in the future.
The clock is ticking. Let’s make sure Josarie celebrates Precious’s next birthday with her, read the letter below and sign your name.
Sign this letter: Our Lives are Not an “Excessive Demand”
Remove Disablism from Canadian Immigration Rules Now
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Members of the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration
As members and supporters of disabled, Deaf, mad, psychiatric consumer/survivor, and disability-labeled communities, we call on the Federal Government to immediately remove the “excessive demand” clause and other disablist regulations from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to ensure the fair treatment of migrant workers and their family members who have been impacted by them.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims “we cannot rest until persons with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else,” section 38(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act excludes disabled people, including people living with HIV, and some trans people, from Canada. Section 38(1)(c) allows for an applicant to be rejected by providing the basis to reject an applicant if they or their family member “might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”
The “excessive demand” clause prevents disabled people from immigrating to Canada, and denies citizenship to people who have become disabled while working in Canada as part of federal temporary work schemes.
The “excessive demand” clause shuts out migrants and immigrants who have lived and worked in Canada for many years if they or one of their dependents are disabled.
The “excessive demand” clause constructs disabled people only in negative terms – solely as a drain on resources. It erases the valuable contributions of disabled people to their communities.
The “excessive demand” clause increases the vulnerability and exploitation of low-waged migrant workers who become sick or injured because of sub-standard work conditions in Canada, These workers are then denied permanent status based on their injuries.
Migrant workers who have come to Canada through federal schemes such as the Caregiver or the Live-In Caregiver Program (CP), Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), or Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) cannot change workplaces without losing their work permits, which means they cannot easily refuse dangerous or unsafe work, forcing them to risk illness or serious injury.
Caregivers are the only group of low-waged migrant workers with a Federal pathway to permanent residency after a period of working in Canada. However, if they become ill or injured during the qualification period, they can be excluded under the “excessive demand clause”. Caregivers won protections against this initially under the Juana Tejada law in 2010, but these were reneged in 2014. The “excessive demand” clause also means that caregivers with sick or disabled children or partners cannot become permanent residents. The CP also discriminates against caregivers with disabilities by requiring a medical exam before getting permit.
The Charter guarantees equality before and under the law and the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination, including on the basis of disability. Section 38 (1)(c) specifically violates the Charter.
The House of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship is currently holding hearings on Medical Inadmissibility (“excessive demand”).
We demand that the Canadian Government immediately:
- Remove the “excessive demand” clause Section 38(1)(c) from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- Immediately grant permanent residency to everyone who was denied permanent residency on disability grounds in the last 10 years.
Ultimately, we demand that the Canadian government eliminate all disablist policies and regulations and ensure permanent immigration status for all, including permanent residency on arrival for migrant workers.
This open letter has been initiated and initially signed on by:
- Anne K. Abbott, Disabled Artist, Author and Activist
- Abdelkader Belaouni, Office Coordinator, Immigrant Worker Center
- Mikiki Burino, Artist, HIV/Community Health Activist
- Dr. Loree Erickson, Disability Activist, Seeking Permanent Residency, in Canada for 14 Years
- Mel Gayle, Artist and Educator
- Dr. Brenda A. LeFrançois, Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland
- Dr. Rachel da silva Gorman, Associate Professor, Critical Disability Studies, York University
- Josarie Danieles, Caregivers, Mother
- Laurence Parent, Disability Activist, PhD Candidate, Concordia University
- Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha, Writer, education, disability justice organizer
- Trish Salah, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, Queen’s University
- Maggie Rahr, Journalist and Mother of (Brilliant) Autistic Son
- Rosaria Sharp, Settlement Worker
- Don Weitz, Antipsychiatry and Social Justice Activist
- A.J. Withers, Disability Activist, Author, Aileen D. Ross Fellow, Joseph A. Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholar
- Caregivers Action Centre
- Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
- Anakbayan Canada
- Asian Community Aids Services
- Association for the Rights of Household Workers (ARHW)
- Bathurst Street United Church
- BC Federation of Labour
- Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)
- Canadian Autistics United
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
- Canadian Union of Public Employees – CUPE
- Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
- Committee for Domestic Workers’ and Caregivers’ Rights
- Council of Canadians
- Council of Canadians, Peterborough and Kawarthas chapter
- Council of Canadians, South Niagara Chapter
- Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS) – Immigrant Resource Centre
- Disability Positive
- Downsview Community Legal Services
- Edmonton Small Press Association (ESPA)
- Emergency Support Committee for Refugees – Hamilton
- Farmworkers Union of Alberta
- FCJ REFUGEE CENTRE
- Fuerza Puwersa
- GABRIELA Ontario
- Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
- Health Providers Against Poverty
- IAVGO Community Legal Clinic
- Income Security Advocacy Centre
- Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic
- Inter Pares
- Justice for Migrant Workers
- Latin American Solidarity Network
- Migrant Mothers Project
- Migrant Worker Solidarity Network, Manitoba
- Migrante Alberta
- Niagara North Community Legal Assistance
- OHIP for ALL
- Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
- OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
- Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups
- PINAY Quebec
- Parkdale Community Aids Services
- Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture
- South Riverdale Commuity Health Centre
- Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape
- UFCW Canada
- UNIFOR Canada
- Urban Alliance on Race Relations
- West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association
- Workers Action Centre