UVic Professor from US denied permanent residence because autistic child deemed too expensive to Canadian health system

Has anyone else here seen this story in the media? It seems like faulty reasoning for CIC to say that an autistic child would over-burden the health care system when so many other immigrants with health problems get into the country easily, or even sponsor their elderly parents who may have a host of health issues.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I feel like there is something else going on in the story that Immigration is not telling the public. What do you all think? Is there anyone out there who knows more details? Anyone care to offer up theories as to why this professor and his family were denied? I have a couple of my own, but I’d like to know more before saying anything…

There’s a bit more scope in this article here:



16 thoughts on “UVic Professor from US denied permanent residence because autistic child deemed too expensive to Canadian health system

  1. Immigration, like marriage, may be an individual right but it is a right that can only be exercised if you can find a willing partner. It is the right of the target partner to establish the rules upon which he/she/country wil or will not enter into the contract.

    Although I am not saying that these two issues are connected I can see the day when Americans will be labelled undesireables because of U.S. taxation. No country is going to want to be on the hook for providing services to U.S. citizens if the U.S. is going to insist on getting taxes from those some citizens. All that that would do is to give the U.S. a free ride.

    Now imagine that, the U.S. government in the role of being a no good BUM.

  2. Today 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism, with a new case diagnosed every 20 minutes and is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States … the typical American spends about $317,000 over his or her lifetime in direct medical costs … The societal costs to support a single person with autism is $3.2 million over his or her lifetime …

    Parenting and the high cost of autism

  3. The US loves to use the term “tax evader”.

    I say we label the US government a “tax thief” for applying citizenship based taxation to people who have left the country and are being provided all their services by a foreign power.

  4. @omg, I didn’t realize autism was so prevalent in the US. Perhaps the CIC was justified in their decision to bar this family, but I still think it’s a shame considering both the husband and wife were working in good jobs and contributing to the economy.

    @recalcitrant, I had the same thought in the back of my mind. Imagine when things get extremely bad down south, if other countries including Canada started denying US immigrants residency…

  5. This is not happening because the professor is American. I know of a family from Britain and one from Zimbabwe where the same thing happened because of a disabled child. It seems to be Canadian immigration policy. Even if it is unfair, this professor is not being singled out because he is American.

  6. @zucchero81, I think the autism rates are probably just as high in Canada. The annual medical costs of an autistic child just hit over the tipping point. But I think the real reason they were refused is the other social costs which are much higher.

    Canadian autistic children are going to be enough of a drain on our medical and social systems (i.e. specialized education).

    Autism rates are rapidly increasing in both Canada and the US. We have to take care of our existing citizens first before allowing others into our generous system of healthcare and social services.

    Accepting even 1000 autistic children from the US could cost us billions of dollars in their lifetime.

  7. Probably a violation of the CONVENTION on the RIGHTS of PERSONS with DISABILITIES. So what else is new?


    To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities;
    To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes;
    To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;
    To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise;

  8. @omg, a very fair point. Very sad none the less considering this couple will probably be in enormous debt their whole lives if forced to rely exclusively on private US health insurance. And I bet most (if not all) providers probably wouldn’t even want to cover the child because of the condition.

  9. Nearly 40 years ago, I had a similiar issue when applying to immigrate to Canada, because my son had a learning disablily. We appealed and provided additional information, and were allowed in Canada. They should be able to appeal and if required allowed to stay on humantarian grounds.

  10. @rivka88- if you are an American citizen there are no humanitarian grounds upon which Canada could grant you entry. The U.S. has NO REFUGEES. Which is kind of ironic when you consider that close to 50 million people are without health insurance and many more have inadequate insurance coverage. Also think about all of the people who during the economic down turn have valiantly left America in order to find jobs in other countries. If these people had left any other none first world country they would be looked upon a lot more admirably than the U.S. looks upon its own people who have done the same thing for the same reason.
    Still though I am sympathetic towards CIC’s position. I have a disabled child, I have worked with disabled people and as a teacher I have worked with special needs children. I know how expensive it can be to give services to this population group and I can assure you that the little bit in taxes that this child’s parents would pay could not begin to cover the costs that the government will incur over the life time of their son.
    Then if you were to factor into the equation the tax money that they would have to remit to the U.S. you have a situation where the Canadian tax payer is getting shafted.
    This is a simple back of the napkin calulation and it is the government’s responsibility to not take on more than it can afford. I feel sorry for them also but even I had to undergo a health exam before coming to Canada and if the results had been untoward the Canadian government would have denied me entrance also.

  11. @All
    About forty years ago (about the same time I was being naturalized in Canada), my husband and I applied to immigration Canada to move my mother (at that time in her mid 50s) and my mentally and physically disabled brother, aged 22, to allow them to move to Canada to be closer to where I lived with my family. The process went on for a very long time, not because of my mother’s age but because of my disabled brother and what he might eventually cost the Canadian health care system and other services in Canada. The process continued for such a long time that my mother finally withdrew the application. At the time, we were disappointed but looking back on things, I fully understand.

  12. @recalcitrantexpat
    my heart trumps my head in this case, if today`s rules were applied my family would likely have been excluded from Canada, so I am very grateful that I was permitted to appeal the initial ruling. Nothing in the video indicates the severity of the diagnosis.

    This person was invited to Canada and provincially sponsored. His potential contribtion to our country could potentially outweigh to cost of his son`s care and education.

  13. @rivka88- could and potential are both unknowns. I will admit that it is also currently unknown the degree to which their child’s autism will prove a disability. What I can say is that there aren’t very many Temple Grandins in the autism community.
    The problem is that the government can’t just let them continue to stay, and see how things develop. The longer they stay the more legal ground the family will have to fight a deportation or become citizens.
    Immigration is not charity. They should go back to the U.S. and let the American system handle their child’s medical problems. The number of U.S. persons either without or with inadequate medical care is over 50% larger than the whole population of Canada. We can’t rescue them all and we shouldn’t rescue this family because of they just happen to have a higher level of education than some of their fellow Americans facing the same conditions.
    Immigration is an investment that must be looked at like any other investment. The immigration of U.S. persons needs to be looked at with even more scrutiny since we now know that there is so much U.S. legislative risk that accompanies them.

  14. That would make a good news story. Americans … the least desirable immigrants to Canada or anywhere else.

  15. I am glad the professor is getting sympathetic support from news media and Canadian citizens. I am glad he is not called healthcare cheat. But the US citizens feel dual-citizen expats are tax cheats (just because we are not aware of obscure forms and not master the 72000 page complex US tax code), even though 99% of us don’t owe no taxes.

    He is getting good support, so I am hoping he will get Canadian work visa extended.

  16. I was commenting on weehthr the DoJ might go ahead and try and collect a penalty asserted by the IRS, even if the costs of collection did not justify it. I was not commenting on weehthr it would be wise for the IRS to assert a stiff penalty on someone who came forward voluntarily (I think it would not be). Different, if related issues.Incidentally, if you’re talking about the Simon case, I’m pretty sure its incorrect to say that is the first FBAR lawsuits’, since I’ve read about prior cases (and in any case the Simon case involved special circumstances). Besides, for smaller accounts with no clear badges of fraud, the bigger issue is non willful penalties, and those would be harder to refute.If you’re an expat with few US assets, then there is no reason for you not to opt out, though.

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