Physician’s family fractured after child with cerebral palsy denied entry to Canada
Published Thursday, May 5, 2016 4:34PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, May 6, 2016 8:46AM MDT
A Brazilian family, residents of Calgary for more than five years, continues to await a change of heart from Immigration Canada on the application of their 10-year-old son who has cerebral palsy and remains in Brazil.
Jaime Bastos, a critical care physician, says his son Gabriel’s application was denied as the disability was considered a potential burden on Canada’s health care system.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada provided the following explanation for the denial in a statement to the Bastos family:
"I have determined that your family member, Gabriel Damasceno Bastos, is a person whose health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services"
Bastos arrived in Canada in 2011 alongside his wife Iara and their daughter Valentina, to complete his post PhD at the University of Calgary. The Bastos welcomed another child during their time in Calgary but the family of five was fractured as Gabriel remained in their native Brazil.
“The situation has been very difficult for me,” Iara Bastos told CTV through an interpreter. “I have been suffering a lot with the distance from my son.”
The Bastos say Gabriel’s condition does not require extensive medical assistance and the family is financially capable of caring for their son without help from the government.
“He doesn’t need medical care,” explained Jaime Bastos. “He will be home schooled here.”
“We have hired a rehabilitation company.”
CTV Calgary requested an on-camera interview with Immigration Canada officials for clarity on Gabriel Bastos’ immigration status but the request was denied.
After CTV Calgary began its investigation into the Bastos case, the family received unexpected correspondence from Immigration Canada advising their case was under review. The Bastos believe the response was prompted by the media request, a situation the family’s immigration lawyer finds puzzling.
"What I can't understand is why, when I write a letter asking what's going on with my clients files, I can't get a response?” asked Jean Munn. “Why do my clients have to go to the media?”
Officials with Inclusion Alberta, an organization that has supported the Bastos attempt to reunite their family, says the current immigration system is in need of an update.
“I think it’s time our Canadian government applies the Charter of Rights to immigration as well,” said Inclusion Alberta’s CEO Bruce Uditsky. “To treat and respect people that want to immigrate with disabilities with the same value and consideration we give to Canadians with disabilities.”
In addition to word on Gabriel's status, the Bastos family continues to await an update on the application they submitted in the spring of 2014 for a permanent residency visa. The 23 month wait, to date, exceeds the average wait time of 19 months.
The Bastos continue to hold onto the hope that Gabriel will be permitted entry to Canada.
“We have adopted this country as our country,” said Jaime Bastos.
In a statement to CTV Calgary, Immigration Canada says the increase in the number of applications has resulted in longer processing times.
With files from CTV’s Kathy Le