Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek



By Atty. Henry Moyal


It is hard to turn on the news or read a newspaper without mention of the rising Covid numbers or Covid vaccination rollout plans.

In fact, it has been the exact same saga for over a year but many are now breathing a sigh of relief now that Canada has a proper vaccination program in place.

The provinces now have a detailed sign up schedule depending on age and whether one is a health care worker. The goal, of course, is to vaccinate enough of the population immediately to eradicate the Covid virus and everyone can get back to their normal lives. In other words, it’s a safety concern for every person living in Canada. Everyone needs to feel comfortable knowing that the person next to them has been vaccinated and virus free.

The problem however is that there are hundreds of thousands of people in Canada who cannot get vaccinated because they do not have a OHIP card and do not have any government identification.

They are in Canada breathing the same air and standing next to you in the grocery store but are not eligible for vaccinations regardless of their age. They are those with no status in Canada who have likely overstayed their initial stay or have been refused and are no longer in status. This is a concern for all Canadians and we are all in the same Covid boat. Currently, in order to be vaccinated a person must show their valid OHIP card and a government piece of ID. Illegal immigrants have neither.

The City of Toronto recently announced that “ every resident of Toronto will have the opportunity to be vaccinated regardless of documentation or status”.

That may be what is said but logistically on the ground it is not happening. While other city spokespersons have stated that an OHIP card may not be required in future, they have failed to explain what other type of ID will be accepted. It should also be remembered that many undocumented persons have no identification or perhaps an old driver’s license from their home country.

To add to the dilemma, many undocumented workers are in fear that getting the vaccine will somehow cross-reference data with Canada Immigration and lead to deportation.

The bottom line is that Canada must allow all persons in Canada to have full access to the vaccine regardless of status or identification – simply ignoring the problem puts us all at risk.

Undocumented people need real assurances knowing they will not be put at greater risk by accessing the vaccine. This is not an immigration issue but a health issue for us all.


.Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.
The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.
Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email or call 416 733 3193