Down syndrome discrimination based on misinformation, prejudice
In 2013, environmental studies professor Felipe Montoya landed a job at York University, in Toronto, and applied for permanent residency to relocate his family from Costa Rica to Canada.
Canadian immigration officials rejected Felipe Montoya's residency application, arguing his 13-year-old son Nico would be a burden on taxpayers because of his Down syndrome.
What followed was a long, drawn-out fight in hopes of reversing the decision arguing his son was being discriminated against because of his genetic identity.
The Montoya case raises questions about how society views people with Down syndrome — such as they are sick or need intensive care — adds to a stigma that is not the reality.
The Current invited a panel to shatter misconceptions of Down syndrome.
Guests in this segment:
- Will Brewer, 30-year-old living with Down syndrome and a member of Voices at the Table for Advocacy, a working group at the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.
- Allison Brewer, Will's mother, is chair person of the Halifax, Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society.
- Kirk Crowther, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society in Ottawa.
The Current reached out to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for their response. They sent us a statement which reads, in part:
"Due to privacy concerns IRCC cannot comment on individual cases without consent...[However], Canada's immigration law does not discriminate against those with illness or disability. It does strive to find the appropriate balance between those wanting to emigrate to Canada, and the limited medical resources that are paid for by Canadian taxpayers."
"No particular health condition makes an applicant automatically inadmissible to Canada.Each applicant is assessed on an individual basis, taking into consideration the current state of their health condition, the probable prognosis, the anticipated health and social service costs, and the potential impact on waiting lists."
This segment was produced by Sarah Grant, Catherine Kalbfleisch and Vanessa Greco.