On 20 September 2000, Canadian newspapers reported that Health Canada recommended to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that testing all prospective immigrants for HIV, and excluding those testing positive, constitutes "the lowest health risk course of action." Subsequently, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration stated that CIC is indeed considering implementing mandatory HIV testing for all prospective immigrants to Canada, and excluding all those testing positive (with the exception of refugees and family-class sponsored immigrants) from immigrating to Canada on both public health and "excessive cost" grounds. This proposal was met with vehement opposition from a broad range of organizations and individuals. In particular, they pointed out that, as stated in the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights (UNHCHR/UNAIDS, 1998: para 105), "[t]here is no public health rationale for restricting liberty of movement or choice of residence on the ground of HIV status." At the time of going to print, no final decision had been made about whether mandatory HIV testing for all immigrants would be implemented. There are sound ethical, legal, and public policy arguments against imposing mandatory testing and excluding those who test HIV-positive.
In a decision released in August 1999, the Health Services Appeal Board in Ontario upheld the decision to deny provincial health coverage to an HIV-positive woman who had been denied permanent resident status on the basis of "medical inadmissibility" but was living in Canada on an Immigration Minister's Permit issued on "humanitarian and compassionate grounds."
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has denied an application for a visa from an HIV-positive man even though he is in good health. The man was seeking to fill a two-year work term in Canada. The case raises concerns about Canada's immigration policies for people with HIV and about the ability of organizations working in AIDS to hire HIV-positive foreign workers.
In May 2005, as a result of pressure from advocates, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) lifted the requirement that short-term visitors to Canada applying for a visa disclose their HIV status on the application form.