Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp I27–I29 | Cite as

National Immigration Health Policy

Existing Policy, Changing Needs, and Future Directions
  • Brian D. Gushulak
  • Linda S. WilliamsEmail author


Canada has a long history of welcoming immigrants and a longstanding immigration policy framework. The historic principles that govern immigration selection and processing also include regulatory policies in the area of health.

Based on historical principles that pre-date Confederation, Canadian immigration health policy has remained relatively constant. Policies are based on the identification of specific individuals and the exclusion, if appropriate, of the affected individuals–an approach that continues today. During the past three decades, however, evolutionary changes in the patterns, volume and demography of immigration have created situations that may necessitate changes to existing policy frameworks. This paper reviews current immigration health policies and practices in Canada, describes the nature and impact of existing challenges, and proposes some alternatives for future consideration.


Le Canada est depuis longtemps une terre d’accueil pour les immigrants et possède un cadre d’action de longue date en matière d’immigration. Les principes historiques régissant la sélection des immigrants et les méthodes relatives à l’immigration comprennent aussi des politiques de réglementation dans le domaine de la santé.

Fondée sur des principes datant d’avant la Confédération, la politique sanitaire canadienne en matière d’immigration est demeurée relativement inchangée. Elle vise à identifier certaines personnes et à exclure, le cas échéant, celles qui sont atteintes–une approche qui est toujours en vigueur aujourd’hui. Au cours des trois dernières décennies, cependant, l’évolution des tendances, du volume et des caractéristiques démographiques de l’immigration a créé des situations qui pourraient nécessiter que l’on modifie le cadre d’action existant. Le présent article examine les politiques et les pratiques sanitaires actuelles en matière d’immigration au Canada, décrit la nature et les incidences des défis existants et propose quelques pistes de solutions.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Services BranchCitizenship and Immigration CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Migration Health Task ForceCitizenship and Immigration CanadaOttawaCanada

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