When people say a child is or would be an “excessive burden” to the health care system, my stomach turns and I quietly wait for them to finish. When the government says it, it’s time for all of us to speak up.
To federal officials, it’s the cost of admitting an immigrant family whose daughter has cerebral palsy: $5,259 a year.
To a father, it’s an unfair and unfeeling calculation.
“It’s really tough to hear your daughter reduced to a number and described as an excessive burden,” said David Barlagne yesterday after lawyers and immigration officials argued before a Federal Court judge on the fate of the Barlagne family.
Persuaded to immigrate here from France and establish a business, the Barlagnes may now have to return because of the “excessive burden” of $5,259 a year in extra education costs that their 7-year-old daughter Rachel’s cerebral palsy would impose on the public.
The family’s level of income and savings makes her “medically inadmissible” to permanently live in Canada, court was told.
But lawyer Stéphane Minson said the system discriminates against disabled children, and the law must change.
“A child should not be reduced to a financial figure,” Mr. Minson said. “But it’s clear this is becoming a political debate, and it’s less a question of law than morality.”
To me, $5,259 a year for education costs actually isn’t that big of a number, not when you compare sometimes astronomically high private school tuition. But parents pay for that themselves, right?
Private school costs may surprise you, in some cases. Quite a number of schools that list with us have tuition starting under $4,000 per year for elementary levels. Independent private schools in provinces that provide some government funding may even have yearly tuition rates below $1000.