MONTREAL, June 8, 2010 (AFP) – Looking to swell its population with an influx of up to 250,000 immigrants annually, Canada is arguably among the world’s most welcoming nations, but its doors are not open to all. A French couple, Sophie and David Barlagne, recently experienced bitter rejection by a still selective immigration policy.
They arrived in Canada five years ago on temporary work permits, full of hope, and started a small software firm in Montreal.
But their request for permanent residency was denied because their seven-year-old daughter Rachel, who suffers from a mild form of cerebral palsy, poses an “excessive burden” on the nation.
“I don’t accept the term ‘burden,’ it’s callous. My daughter, because she has a handicap, is treated like a criminal,” Sophie Barlagne told AFP.
According to the government’s definition, Rachel is considered to be an extreme burden because her treatments cost 5,000 dollars more per year than the average healthcare expenditures of Canadians.
The family’s personal wealth was deemed by authorities to be insufficient to pay for her care, and so it would likely fall on the public healthcare system to foot the bill.
Her parents qualified t