An Ethical Analysis of the Mandatory Exclusion of Refugees and Immigrants Who Test HIV-Positive

Canadian law does not explicitly bar immigrants because they are HIV-positive. But Canadian law does, in theory, authorize the exclusion of prospective immigrants who are HIV-positive, either because they pose a threat to public health or because their care and support would consume too many resources.

Canadian immigration policy, in practice, currently recognizes that HIV positive immigrants do not represent a danger to public health, but it does allow that meeting their needs might impose an inordinate burden on Canada’s health and social service systems and that their applications for permanent residence may be denied for that reason. Whether these positions are ethically defensible is examined in this report.