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Medical Exams: A Requirement for Many Visitors and Immigrants

The deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and concerns about its spread beyond that region have prompted health officials in Europe and North America to take precautions to prevent the virus’ introduction into their countries. Though not a response to this particular threat, Canada has for a long time required many immigrants and visitors to undergo a medical examination before they can enter the country or have their applications for permanent or temporary residency approved.

Permanent Resident Applicants

Individuals and their dependants who are seeking permanent residency status in Canada are required to have an immigration medical examination. One of the key characteristics of an immigration medical examination is that there are only certain doctors, called “panel physicians”, who are authorized to conduct valid examinations; an exam by your own doctor will not suffice. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) maintains a list of approved panel physicians in countries across the globe, though there may not be a panel physician in every country.

After you have filed your application, you will receive a notice from CIC instructing you to go for a medical examination within 60 days of receiving the notice or, if you make a refugee claim at a port of entry, you will be required to have the exam within 30 days. Some applicants must include proof of medical exams having been done up-front with their submitted applications.

The panel physician will do a complete medical exam and may refer you for chest x-rays and laboratory tests. Once your exam has been completed, the physician will send the results to CIC. CIC, not the doctor, makes the final decision as to whether your exam results are sufficient to allow your application to proceed. If there is a problem with your medical exam, the visa office will contact you in writing.

Temporary Resident Applicants

Generally, visitors, workers, and students who plan on being in Canada less than six months are not required to have a medical examination. For those planning on staying more than six months, you may need an exam depending on where you have lived prior to visiting or the kind of job you will be engaging in while in Canada. If you have lived temporarily for six or more consecutive months in one of the countries identified here in the year before you plan on visiting, you will be required to undergo an exam with an approved panel physician.

Additionally, if your planned work involves public health or brings you into close contact with people, you may need a medical exam. Examples of such jobs include:

  • workers in the health sciences field
  • clinical laboratory workers
  • patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes
  • medical students admitted to Canada to attend university
  • medical electives and physicians on short-term locums
  • teachers of primary or secondary schools, or other teachers of small children
  • domestics
  • workers who give in-home care to children, the elderly and the disabled
  • day nursery employees

Applicants must pay the fees for their medical exam, and the results are only valid for 12 months. If you have questions about medical examinations and whether you need to have one as part of your efforts to visit or move to Canada, contact Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky. With more than two decades of experience handling immigration matters, Larry Butkowsky has earned the respect of the Toronto legal community and the gratitude of many satisfied clients. He is committed to protecting his clients’ rights and making sure that the immigration process and transition to Canadian life is a smooth one.

The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.

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