Are you eligible for a Humanitarian & Compassionate application?

Author/ Roxana Parsa

H&C Application

Have you been living and working in Canada for a while without valid immigration status, and would like to apply for your Permanent Residence status? You may be eligible to apply with a Humanitarian & Compassionate (H&C) application. Under Section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Minister may look at your individual circumstances and grant permanent residence status, if it is justified through humanitarian & compassionate considerations. There are many different cases where this can be granted – for example, you have been working here for several years, have young children who attend school, and are involved with your community through a religious organization. Or perhaps you have significant extended family in Canada but you are not eligible for a sponsorship, and would not be able to gain employment if return to your home country. The Minister can choose to use his discretion in a range of situations. In making an H&C application, there are several key factors that are considered:

  • Your establishment in Canada: this includes elements such as how long you have been here, your involvement with your community, employment, your connections to family here, education.
  • The hardship you will face if you return to your home country: this refers to the difficulties which will arise if you are made to live in your home country. These can be due to the political situation, the lack of employment, a fear of violence or persecution, a lack of social services, and other similar factors.
  • The best interests of any children involved: if you have children, their interests can become an essential part of the application. It’s possible that a removal from Canada would greatly impact their lives. Under the IRPA, there is an obligation for immigration officers to be alert and sensitive to the interests of children when considering H&C requests; this was further clarified in the 2015 Supreme Court decision of Kanthasamy v Canada. These declarations means that both the physical and psychological effects of uprooting children to another country must be considered. A decision can be found to be unreasonable if these interests are not sufficiently considered.

One of the most important factors in an H&C application is the documentary evidence. While putting together the application, you will need to collect documents in order to support your claim. These documents are used as crucial pieces of evidence that demonstrate your ties to Canada and why you need to remain here. Some documents which you will need to collect include:

  • Letters from family members, describing how important it is that you remain in Canada. These letters can discuss your relationship and how hard it would be for them if you had to leave.
  • Letters from friends and community members. These letters can be very important in showing your commitment to being involved with Canadian society. This includes any activities you’re involved with, religious groups and volunteer organizations. The letters can discuss the ways in which you have supported them, or made a difference in the community, and why you should stay in Canada.
  • All letters should include the author’s full name and signature, the date, and their relation to you. You should also ensure that each letter has been personally written by the author.
  • Proof of employment. In addition to a letter from your boss describing your work, you should collect pay stubs or other proof of income.
  • If you have children, you should collect information about their education and lives in Canada. Example include report cards, letters from teachers and friends, proof of participation in events, enrollment in after-school activities, among others. Your children can also write letters of support describing why they want to stay in Canada.
  • Photos of you spending time with your family and friends in Canada.

This is not an exhaustive list of the documents you need. Every case will require documents suited to the particular issues involved, and you should speak with a lawyer to help you establish your needs. However, this is list can provide some guidance when beginning an application. While it may take some time to collect these documents, a greater substance will ultimately lead to a stronger application.

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