Canadian Govt Tells Family Asperger’s Son an “Excessive Drain”

Last week, the Canadian government rescinded an order to deport the Maengs, a South Korean family who moved to Moncton, New Brunswick, eight and a half years ago. The Maengs moved to Canada in search of better treatment for their now 15-year-old son, Sung-Joo Maeng, who has epilepsy and autism. 

Now, another family with a child on the autism spectrum has also been told that their son’s needs would be an “excessive drain” on Canada’s health and social services. As the Toronto Star reports, an early medical assessment by Citizenship and Immigration Canada has concluded that 20-year-old Chris Reynolds, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome, is “medically inadmissible” to Canada. Due to his needs, Chris needs to stay at home with his father and brother full-time. The Canadian government has estimated that Chris’ care could cost Canadians $7,000 a year.

Only 0.2 per cent of permanent residency applicants a year are said to be “inadmissible” to Canada, “for fear they would pose an excessive demand on the country’s health care system,” says the Toronto Star.

Chris is an American citizen; he was born in Nashville, Tennesee, and has lived in Toronto since 2007, with his father, Tom Reynolds, a tenured theology professor at the University of Toronto’s Emmanuel College — which in part serves students studying for ministry in the United Church of Canada – and a 17-year-old younger brother, who is still in high school. The Reynolds applied to immigrate from within Canada shortly after their arrival and have now withdrawn their application under the skilled worker program. They are now applying under the under the humanitarian and compassionate stream but the time to apply is running out as Chris will be 22 years old in two years and so unable to apply on his family’s application.

I have been very fortunate to have met Tom Reynolds, at a conference about autism and advocacy that my husband, Jim Fisher, organized at Fordham University in New York in 2006. Though our sons are very different, there are plenty of overlaps and both boys have many needs and (I cannot state this enough) many abilities and much to give to the world. Currently, Chris’s care is covered by his family paying out of pocket and through his father’s health insurance from his employer. Reynolds has created a Facebook page, Canadians for Chris.

I find it quite unbelievable, and very troubling, that the Reynolds’ application is being rejected in the very mistaken belief that Chris would be some kind of burden on the Canadian health system. If the assumption is being made that Chris, due to his disabilities, might not be able to contribute to Canada, someone is very mistaken. As Reynolds says in the Toronto Star:

“Even if Chris ends up needing continual care, is there nothing my family offers Canada to help offset the public cost of Chris?” 

As Chris himself says in the Toronto Star:


I am a homebody,” he said with a sheepish smile. “I am not good at starting a conversation and I get bad anxiety sitting in a car for too long.”

Surely Canada is not going to wrest Chris away from his home?



Take Action!: Tell Canada to Grant Permanent Residency to Chris Reynolds by signing this petition

Previous Care2 Coverage

SUCCESS! Order to Deport the Maengs Rescinded

Photo from Canadians for Chris.


William C
William Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you for caring.

Fadi M.
Fadi M6 years ago

Canada, such measures not only are inhuman, but may also be counterproductive.
I tell you John L. may not be the only person considering boycotting Canadian products, which might have a much greater negative impact on the country's GDP than the "excessive drain" that comes from the Maengs.

Next time someone holds a product that has "Product of Canada" written on it, they're gonna remember this story and other similar ones... I would! Think about that!

"The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members."

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold6 years ago

Another country where they are acting like idiots.

Rose Becke6 years ago


Myraida Diaz
Myraida Diaz7 years ago

$7,000 they throw in less than a blink of an eye for political campaigns. I hope Canada make better selections to govern the country.Don't feel ashamed for being a canadian.You good canadians are the ones called to make a difference.Exercise DEMOCRACY. Work for LIFE and WELLBEING for every living being.Do it non stop.You can make the miracle.

Sharon P.
Sharon S7 years ago

This makes me ashamed to be a Canadian & is another thing that makes us the laughing stock we are because of our immigration policies. And yet, we will handover up to $2400 per month to immigrant families from 3rd world countries who don't even speak a smidgen of our language to 'help them feel welcome & assimilate into our culture' all the while a fair portion of them are just here to take advantage of our very liberal policies & cash handouts. They turn things upside down, expecting us to respect their culture (which is fair) but at the same time, they show & feel very little respect for our established culture. YET, this family is turned away to legally remain here for a paltry estimated figure of $7000 a year. IT doesn't compute. Here is a well educated person contributing to the education of our young people, yet we can't accept his son-A CRYING SHAME!!!

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Cathy Porter-Maynard

“The moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” -- U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, (Minnesota).

Teddie S.
Teddie S7 years ago

How truly sad for this family.