Health Rep 2019 Apr;30(4):3-11
Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Background: Medical screening plays a role in explaining the healthy immigrant effect (HIE) among immigrants newly landed in Canada. The 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) modernized immigration selection by exempting certain immigrant categories (e.g., refugees and certain family-class immigrants) from inadmissibility on health grounds. This study examines the HIE in the IRPA era by sex, with a focus on those categories affected by the IRPA.
Data And Methods: The linked Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)-Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) was used to compare sex-specific age-standardized proportions of four health measures between Canadian-born and immigrants aged 20 to 65, overall and by duration since landing. Immigrants who landed within three years of the surveys from 2007 to 2014 were examined by sex and immigrant category. Logistic regression was used to further compare the HIE in the same immigrant sub-groups to the Canadian-born, controlling for age and selected confounders.
Results: This study found the HIE in most selected measures for immigrants overall, as well as for those recent immigrants arriving under the IRPA, including the family class. Among refugees, the HIE was observed only in less severe chronic conditions; this was especially the case among females. As expected, a strong HIE was observed among economic-class principal applicants. These health advantages persisted even after adjustment for socioeconomic and health factors. For self-rated health, the advantage existed for some groups only after full adjustment.
Discussion: This study is a first look at the healthy immigrant effect under the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by immigration category. Results corroborate the existing literature on the presence of the HIE among immigrants: the HIE was found to be much weaker among refugees.