I agree with Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, that some of our current immigration rules are ““out of step” with Canadian values and attitudes toward people with disabilities.” It is true, I suppose, that if Stephen Hawking applied to immigrate to Canada he would be refused because his disabilities might be seen by some bureaucrat to cause him to make “excessive demands” on the country’s health care and social services systems.
The principle should be simple ~ being disabled, in any way, must NOT give anyone an advantage in the immigration queue; it (the queue) must still be merit based, based on what Canada needs, not what the prospective immigrant wants or even needs. But a prospective immigrant who is in all respects likely to be valuable to Canada should not be excluded from the process just because (s)he has a disability that requires some treatment or because (s)he has a disabled child. The principle should more accurately balance the advantages the prospective immigrant will, likely, bring to Canada, versus the costs (to our social safety net) of having her/him reside in Canada.
Thus: a disability should not, automatically, exclude anyone from applying to immigrate to Canada, but it must not confer any advantage to that process.
Queues exist because they work, for the common good … we queue up to get on a bus or train in an orderly manner that is fair to those who have waited longest; we queue up for theatre tickets and those who want the best seats are rewarded for arriving early, for forgoing some other opportunity; the immigration queue rewards those who have the skills and abilities and aptitudes that Canada needs; BUT Canada doesn’t need handicapped people, there is no shortage here, not as there is for electricians, physicians, plumbers and engineers, so no “points” should be given for being blind or for missing an arm or leg. But the person who gets enough points for education, skills and so on should not be disqualified for a physical disability.*
More on the notion of what the queue does and does not entitle one to tomorrow …
* I’m not sure that a person with a mental disability severe enough to qualify as a “disability” could get over our Canadian “points” threshold ~ but I don’t know the system well enough to say that for sure. I do, however, think that a child with e.g. Down’s Syndrome should not prevent the family of a qualified engineer or accountant from coming to Canada with him or her.