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Same sex couple Ricardo Companioni and Andrew Grover have been living in the city of Toronto for the past three years. The couple is HIV-positive, but both men are in decent health and neither of them has been hospitalized due to their condition. Despite this, their bid for Canadian permanent residence has been denied by the government.
The Government of Canada does not have a specific policy of denying permanent residence to those with HIV or AIDS, but it does deny status for immigrants who may place an excessive burden on social or public services like healthcare.
We recently reported on was the case of the Barlagne family, who were told by immigration recruiters in their home country of France that Canada would be the perfect country for them to start a new life and open a business. They were also told that their daughter with cerebral palsy would be welcomed. While the Barlagne family has maintained they have plenty of money to pay for their daughter’s medical costs and that they won’t burden any social or health services, they’re facing deportation because of her condition.
Canada seems to be the perfect place to live for Grocer and Companioni, with its complete legalization and acceptance of gay marriage. Companioni and Grover have also shown, like the Barlagne family, that they have the means to pay for their own prescription costs, which would total about $33,500 annually. The issue the Canadian Government takes however, is that the couple would still be eligible for the programs available to Ontario residents to lower prescription costs, giving Citizenship and Immigration Canada reason enough to prove to couple would excessively burden Canadian health care.
The couple disagrees and has said that they were asked by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to sign a letter that essentially promised they would not to sign up for any such thing or use any social services, but they were still denied.
The couple has appealed the decision after being persuaded by their lawyer, and are now able to have a completely different immigration officer assigned to their case for review. The lawyer, who told the National Post last week that he is sure they will have Canadian status eventually, has notably been the difference between deportation and getting a fair review of their case.
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