In this NIAS Talk we shed light on the politics of migration and health, and official knowledge and decision making about people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness within the Canadian immigration system.
This is the world premiere of the film The Unmaking of Medical Inadmissibility, written and directed by NIAS fellow, Laura Bisaillon. In this 20-minute film in animatic form, Bisaillon unfolds experiences that people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness have with the Canadian immigration system as they apply for permanent residency. A panel discussion and engagement with the public follows the screening.
Federal Canadian immigration law excludes people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic difference from permanently settling on health grounds, referred to as medical inadmissibility – with some exceptions. Medical inadmissibility is a state decision-making process involving official practices organized to detect, diagnose, and exclude such persons because of assumptions made about them. The research informing the film asks the public to reflect on assumptions about people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness: our neighbours, our friends, our children, ourselves. It asks public institutions to take notice of the ways in which systemic disadvantage is upheld through bureaucratic and professional practices. It joins with calls from within Canada and the European Union to generate empirical evidence for knowing how and where to suppress institutional barriers experienced by people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic otherness.
About the speakers
Laura Bisaillon is Assistant Professor of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough. During her fellowship at NIAS 2020/21, Bisaillon produces an ethnography starting within the circumstances and aftermath of exclusion for would-be immigrants in Canada.
Kristine Krause is an anthropologist (University of Amsterdam) working at the intersections of political and medical anthropology, interested in subjectivities and health, citizenship, and care. Krause was NIAS fellow in the year group 2019/20, where she worked on the book project Care in the city. Multiple Articulations of Care and Healing.
Emy Koopman is a writer, researcher, and journalist. This autumn her five-part series Paradijs Canada was broadcasted by the VPRO. Amongst others, Koopman’s writing is featured in De Groene Amsterdammer, Hard//hoofd and De Correspondent.
Zará Kars (moderator) is a public historian and works as event manager at NIAS.