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12 July 2011

No Health Care for Illegal Immigrants!

In a precedent setting decision, the Federal Court denied an illegal immigrant coverage under Canada’s universal health care system. This decision could serve to discourage others who travel to the country to obtain free treatments.

The immigrant became extremely ill and applied for permanent residence 9 years after arriving in Canada in order to qualify for health care and neglected to pay the application fees. She applied for the federal government to pay her health care bills under a 1957 Order in Council which extends coverage to anyone who is navigating the immigration system. The government refused and her second and final appeal was rejected July 8th.

The Federal Court of Appeal argued that the federal government had no obligation to pay the medical bills of an illegal immigrant who had not paid the processing fees, therefore not having an application in the immigration system. The Court held that the Order in Council was designed to help people who entered the country legally and the lack of medical coverage was the fault of the appellant alone.

Judge David Stratas further ruled that appeal should be rejected by the court in order to defend Canada’s immigration process and avoid setting a precedent which could lead to Canada becoming a “health care safe haven”, undermining its immigration laws.


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