Radu Bogdan

Radu Bogdan is worried his family will never be able to immigrate to Canada because his young son has Down Syndrome. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A temporary foreign worker from Romania says immigration policies in Canada are out of date and discriminate against people with disabilities.

Radu Bogdan has been working in Richibucto as a production line operator at Imperial Sheet Metal since 2011.

He has applied for permanent residency and hopes to bring his wife and two young children to Canada, but in a recent letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada he was told his son may not meet the requirements.

Bogdan's 6-year-old son has Down Syndrome.

"My son teaches how to love every day," Bogdan said. "He's a wonder, he's a miracle for us."

The letter from CIC says in part, "Your family member...is a person whose health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on social services in Canada."

The average cost for health and social services in Canada is set at $6,285 per year, per person.

CIC estimates over the next five years special education costs alone for Bogdan's son would be more than $53,527 which exceeds that annual allocation.

Bogdan doesn't believe it would cost that much to care for his son.

"I don't think that's fair. I think it's overestimated," he said.

Bogdan says he has found that Canadians have modern views when it comes to what individuals with Down Syndrome can accomplish so he was surprised by the response from CIC. 

"I was frustrated and I'm still frustrated," Bogdan said. "We are all equal, we all have the same rights and we shouldn't be denied from immigration process or from granting a specific status because of our disabilities or our children's disabilities."

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society says Down Syndrome shouldn't be a barrier for people applying to live in Canada.

Canadian policy must be 'realistic'

Martin Collacott, secretary and chair of the advisory board for the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, says Canada's social services are already stretched beyond capacity. 

"I think we have to be realistic about who we can accept," he said. "And about not overburdening a system which is still not, in many respects, fully servicing and taking care of Canadians."

Collacott says if CIC makes an exception for one person, it would have to make an exception for every applicant in a similar situation.

Bodgan has hired an immigration lawyer to help prove that his son won't put excessive demand on Canada's social and health care systems.

He now has until May 27 to provide additional information.

In the letter CIC says, "you must establish to the satisfaction of the assessing officer that you have a reasonable and workable plan, along with the financial means and intent to implement this plan."