Just like in many other places that admit immigrants and foreign workers and students, Canada requires that those who enter the country be subject to medical tests.
This ensures that before granting appropriate visas or permanent residence status, newcomers are physically fit to perform their work, do not pose as a health threat to the Canadian population, and do not require a significant amount of healthcare resources that is primarily intended for Canada’s citizens and permanent residents.
When is a medical test required?
In most cases, once an applicant is invited to apply for permanent residence, he or she is required to take a medical exam. This means that if an applicant is just in the initial phase of the application such as reviewing the requirements or preparing to create his/her Express Entry profile, the applicant doesn’t need to get a medical test. But it helps a lot to ensure he or she is physically fit and does not suffer from chronic disease when he or she applies as an immigrant. Otherwise, it might be a waste of the applicant’s time and effort if, in the end, the application be refused because of health reasons.
An applicant can get his or her medical exam before or after his/her application, depending on the program being applied for. An instruction guide on when to take the medical exam can be found within the immigration program.
Which health professionals can perform a medical exam
The applicant must see a doctor on the list of panel physicians. Doctors or medical clinics whose names are not allowed to take the medical exam for Canadian immigration purposes.
That being said, the panel physician doesn’t make the final decision about his or her medical test results. An appropriate Canadian government agency makes that decision. In case there’s a problem with an applicant’s medical exam, Canadian authorities will contact him or her.
Before submitting an application
The primary applicant may choose to have his or her medical exam upfront before applying for permanent residence. This is also known as an upfront medical examination.
However, if bringing other family members in the application, it is advisable to wait for further communication from Canadian authorities before going to a panel physician or visiting a clinic for a health check. Typically, instructions are sent to the primary applicant on how to get the medical exam done. This requirement must be fulfilled within 30 days of receiving the instructions. Failure to follow the instruction will likely mean refusal of the application.
What to bring in a medical exam
On an applicant’s appointment for a medical exam in a designated clinic or physician, he or she must bring the following:
- proper identification (at least one document with photograph and signature, such as a passport, driver’s license, or national identity card)
- eyeglasses or contact lenses, if applicable
- any medical reports or test results that the applicant had for any previous or existing medical conditions
- the Medical Report form (IMM 1017E), if the applicant didn’t receive an upfront medical exam, this will be sent to him or her
- a list of current medications, excluding vitamins and health supplements
The applicant must also bring 4 recent photographs if the panel physician doesn’t use eMedical. Contact the panel physician before or bring the photographs if unsure.
The applicant may be referred for an x-ray or other laboratory tests.
The applicant is expected to pay all fees related to the medical exam on the appointment day. The fees include:
- the fee for the doctor or radiologist
- any special tests, investigations or treatment needed
- any specialists an applicant is required to see
In case the application is unsuccessful after the submission of medical exam results, the applicant is not expected to receive a refund of the costs and expenses related to the medical exam.
Refugees and asylum seekers are exempt from paying the fees.
What to expect during the medical exam
Reminder: Only an approved panel physician or designated clinics can perform a complete medical exam for immigration reasons.
Upon arrival, the physician or clinic staff will ask for an applicant’s identification to verify identity. A photograph of the applicant is taken and attached to his or her medical records.
The doctor will fill out a medical history questionnaire and ask the applicant questions such as family’s health background, history of surgery, admission to hospitals, and so on. This questionnaire helps ascertain previous or existing medical conditions. They’ll also ask the applicant about any medications he or she is currently taking.
Honesty is important so be sure to tell the panel physician about any previous or existing medical conditions. Medical exam procedures may take longer if the applicant does not disclose any existing health condition.
The applicant will be asked to undergo a physical exam. In this step, the doctor or clinic staff will obtain the following information about the applicant:
- hearing and vision
- blood pressure
- heart and lungs
The doctor or medical clinic staff won’t examine genitals or rectal area as these parts of the body aren’t required for the immigration medical exam.
Blood pressure equipment and medication. Photo credit: Stevepb / Pixabay
The doctor may need to examine the female applicant’s breasts. Before doing this, they will provide the applicant with an explanation of why and how the examination is being done.
Right to a chaperone
The applicant has the right to a chaperone at any time during the entire medical check-up. This means that the applicant can request medical staff to accompany the physician to conduct a test, stop the exam and ask a question about the procedure.
The applicant may also be asked to do chest x-rays and laboratory tests at the clinic or a laboratory. This is routine screening and the doctor will discuss any abnormal results.
Depending on the results of initial tests, the applicant may be referred to a specialist for more testing. Such requests must be completed as soon as possible to avoid delays in the processing of the medical examination.
After the medical exam
Once the exam is done, the physician will send the results directly to the Canadian authorities. The doctor will give the applicant a document confirming that a medical exam has taken place. This document should be kept as proof.
Submitting medical exam results in the application
If the applicant had an upfront medical exam before sending in his or her application, he or she must include a copy of the IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form with the application.
If the panel doctor works with eMedical, they’ll give the applicant an information sheet printout to include with the application.
If the applicant had his or her medical exam after applying, he or she doesn’t need to send any document about the test.
If the applicant wants a copy of the medical exam, he or she can ask the doctor during the medical exam. Once submitted, medical reports and x-rays for the medical exam become the property of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and cannot be returned to the applicant.
Validity of exam results
The medical exam results are valid for 12 months only. If the applicant doesn’t come to Canada as a permanent resident within that time, another exam may be necessary.