HIV Immigration Policy Takes Flak

HIV Immigration Policy Takes Flak

Fri, March 21, 2008

CALGARY — Ottawa needs to tighten up its admission of HIV-carrying immigrants who are a drag on the country's strained medical system, a leading taxpayers' advocate said yesterday.

Sun Media revealed yesterday that between 2002 and 2006 federal immigration officials had only refused 126 of 2,567 applicants who'd tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

A more moral and practical approach would be ensuring foreign aid combats the disease, said John Williamson, national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“Canada could show its compassion best by using foreign aid money by delivering medicine overseas,” said Williamson.

The country's immigration policy, he said, should be to ensure a supply of productive new residents, “not as a back door to our health-care system.”

Calgary immigration lawyer Gary Hansen said HIV-positive newcomers are too easily granted entry when others aren't.

“I've known of people with cancer who've had to wait for five years after they're cancer-free,” he said