IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2021: Migration Health

[Redacted] appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the principles of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.


IRCC is the Government of Canada’s centre of expertise on migration health issues

IRCC’s migration health program (staffed by physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, analysts, and more) contributes to key components of the Department’s mission:

This is accomplished through Migration Health Branch’s main activities:

Health Screening – Immigration Medical Exams

Immigration Medical Exams are the cornerstone of the health screening process. These exams help protect the public health of Canadians and prevent the spread of diseases. The process includes:


Immigration Medical Exams are required for foreign nationals who plan to:

Foreign nationals visiting for less than six months do not require an Immigration Medical Exam.

All applicants (except refugees and asylum claimants) pay for their own medical examinations.

Health Screening – Panel Physicians

There are over 2,300 panel physicians and radiologists, located in 170 countries, including Canada.

IRCC performs regular quality assurance activities on its Global Panel Physician Network through its four Regional Medical Offices (Ottawa, London, Delhi and Manila).

Health Screening – Assessing Results

IRCC assesses the results of Immigration Medical Exams to rule out inadmissibility on three health grounds under section 38 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act:

Danger to Public Health

Danger to Public Safety

Excessive Demand on Health or Social Services

Health screening is not just about inadmissibility: IRCC also screens for HIV, latent tuberculosis, and hepatitis, to facilitate treatment and connection to the health system in Canada, to ensure continuity of care.

Annually, 0.13% of applicants who undergo health screening are found inadmissible on health grounds.

Health Screening – Changes to Inadmissibility Criteria

The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement was pre-published in the Canadian Gazette, Part I, in March 2021.

Interim Federal Health Program

In Canada


Discretionary Coverage

IRCC does not reimburse clients directly.

IRCC does not issue payment to provinces/territories.

IRCC does not supplement provincial/territorial or private coverage.

Interim Federal Health Program – Costs

IFHP Expenditures

Source: SAP Financial System

Note: These figures include all costs related to service utilization as well as general Program delivery, such as contracted services to Immigration Holding Centres and administrative fees paid for claims processing.

IFHP Beneficiaries

Source: IFHP Claims Database

COVID-19 Pandemic – Emergency Response

Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program

Program beneficiaries were affected by reduced in-person medical services and uncertainty around COVID-19 and travel

IRCC monitors international public health risks for situational awareness and their potential impacts on migration policies and programs. IRCC employs health experts who advise on the implications of ongoing health risks, who assist in responding to these health risks, and who provide scientific and evidence-based advice to inform options in response to health events.

COVID-19 Pandemic – Impacts on our Work

Innovative Measures to Facilitate Health Screening

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated border and travel restrictions forced IRCC to consider unique approaches to facilitate the processing of foreign nationals.

COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative for Migrants

Effective June 2, 2021, IRCC launched a voluntary initiative to offer COVID-19 vaccination, or confirm vaccination status, for all Canada-bound migrants who undergo an Immigration Medical Exam.

Migration Health Program – Outcomes

Key Takeaways

Canada’s immigration priorities have impacts on public health and the healthcare system

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