The six members of the Warkentin family came to Canada from Colorado in 2013 to operate an outfitting business in Waterhen, 275 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. Their work permits to run their hunting and fishing lodge will expire in November.
When they came to Canada, Jon and Karissa Warkentin didn’t know that their daughter Karalynn, then 2, had special needs. She was diagnosed in 2014 with epilepsy and global developmental delay.
Their letter of rejection from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which arrived in April, said Karalynn’s health condition might cause “excessive demand” on health or social services in Canada.
“It’s hard because we have one person in our family who has a disability out of all six of us. It makes us feel like we’re second class. Canada doesn’t want you. You feel put down,” said Jon Warkentin.
Karalynn was deemed inadmissible to Canada on health grounds stemming from her global developmental delay and ADHD, the letter said. As a result, all family members were deemed inadmissable to Canada.
“We were mystified, because she doesn’t require daily nursing care, she doesn’t go to speech therapy, she doesn’t go to occupational therapy, she doesn’t require physical therapy, she’s not in the hospital because she has chronic health conditions,” said Karissa Warkentin, Karalynn’s mother.