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Humanitarian and Compassionate H&C

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) consideration is a pivotal component of immigration policy, designed to offer a pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals who do not fulfill the criteria of other immigration categories. This provision specifically addresses the needs of individuals facing extraordinary or exceptional circumstances, ensuring that empathy and flexibility are integral to the immigration process. H&C grounds cater to a limited group of applicants, each case evaluated on its own merits. Key factors in this evaluation often include family connections, the best interests of the child involved, or adverse conditions in the applicant’s home country. 

Factors for H&C consideration

The applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Several factors are considered in the application process, including:

  • How settled the person is in Canada?
  • General family ties to Canada
  • The best interests of any children involved, and
  • What could happen to the applicant if request is not granted?
  • Factors in applicant’s country of origin including adverse country conditions.
  • Applicant’s health considerations including inability of a country to provide medical treatment.
  • Family violence considerations.
  • Consequences of the separation of relatives.
  • Any unique or exceptional circumstances that might merit relief.

The decision-making process for Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) considerations is characterized by a significant degree of discretion, empowering officers to determine the merit of granting exemptions from certain requirements of the Immigration Act. This discretion enables officers to tailor their decisions to the unique circumstances presented in each application. These decisions are fundamentally evidence-based, heavily relying on the information and documentation provided by the applicant. Therefore, it is the applicant’s responsibility to meticulously articulate and substantiate the hardships they would suffer if the exemption(s) are denied. Given that the process typically does not involve a personal interview, the onus is on the applicant to prepare a comprehensive and compelling application that underscores the reasons for their request to remain in Canada.

Reasons for applying under H&C consideration

People usually apply for H&C for two main reasons (e.g. hardship and risk).

Hardship: Hardship refers to a situation that would cause you serious problems or suffering. You may decide to apply for H&C if you would face hardship if forced to leave Canada and return to your home country.

Medical Hardship: Medical problems do not usually make your case stronger unless you or a family member risks death because your home country does not offer adequate or appropriate medical treatment. If this is your situation, you must include information about the medical condition in your H&C application, as well as medical information from experts in your home country confirming the danger you or your family member faces if forced to return to your home country.

Proving Hardship: To prove you would face hardship if deported to your home country you must show you are already well established in Canada. Consider the following factors that contribute to your level of establishment in Canada. 

  • The amount of time you have lived in Canada (the longer the better).

  • The amount of time you have spent collecting welfare (it is highly recommended you never collect welfare. An immigration officer can use this as a reason to deny your claim).

  • Your language skills in English/French and your efforts to improve them.

  • Your efforts to improve your education and skills while in Canada.

  • The number of family members/relatives you have in Canada (the more the better).

  • How much contact you have with family in Canada (the more the better).

  • How much contact you have with family in your home country (having many close relatives in your home country suggests less hardship if you returned).

  • Canadian-born children (good) or children still living in your home country (not good).

  • Contacts in Canada other than family

  • Jobs you have had in Canada and taxes you have paid.

  • Your present job and the length of your employment.

  • Your assets in Canada, including your family home, RSPs, RESPs, bank accounts, investment accounts, business vehicles (the more assets the better).

  • Your assets abroad (the less the better).

  • Your community involvement (religious or non-religious) and volunteer work.

  • Positive reference letters from people in your workplace, school, volunteer organization, religious community, etc.

  • Your financial or cultural contributions to Canada.

  • The specific hardships you/your family face in your home country.

  • If you are a woman, the difficulties you face in your home country.

Risk: Risk means a serious possibility any of the following might happen to you if you are forced to leave Canada for your home country. You must prove you face one or more of these risks.

Persecution (e.g. being treated badly due to your political or religious beliefs).

  • Torture
  • Risk to life
  • Risk of cruel or unusual punishment


Risk of Persecution: A Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) officer meticulously evaluates any application that includes concerns about the potential risks associated with leaving Canada. There will be no deportation action taken until the PRRA officer has thoroughly reviewed the application and rendered a decision. It is critical to understand that general socioeconomic factors, like inadequate educational infrastructure or the prospect of unemployment in one’s home country, do not constitute sufficient grounds for establishing risk under PRRA. A PRRA officer assesses new evidence that was previously overlooked. Nevertheless, they are authorized to include significant, pertinent evidence that might not have been accessible during earlier stages of the refugee hearing process. This includes, but is not limited to, medical documentation of torture or substantial proof of conditions in the applicant’s home country that directly impact them. If you are facing persecution but have not yet filed a refugee claim, it is advisable to do so as soon as possible. Canadian protection extends beyond the UN’s definition of Convention refugees, encompassing a wider range of people who face genuine risk but are not traditionally considered refugees.

Children: When compiling your application and you have children, it’s essential to include expert opinion letters that specifically address the potential adverse mental and physical impacts that returning to your home country could have on them. These letters can provide valuable insights and should ideally be authored by professionals intimately familiar with your children’s circumstances. These professionals include school counselors, community health workers, family doctors, teachers, social workers, or psychologists. The officer responsible for reviewing your application is mandated to give considerable weight to “the best interests of the child.” This principle requires a thorough evaluation of whether it would be more beneficial for your child or children to remain in Canada or accompany you back to your home country. In making this assessment, the officer will consider the depth of your children’s connections to Canada. Key factors in this consideration include whether your children were born in Canada, their educational history in the country, and their personal experiences or lack thereof in your home country.

Limits on Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration

  • Applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if he/she has a pending refugee claim. If applicant want to apply under H&C grounds, he/she must withdraw his/her refugee claim before Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) hearing.

  • Applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds if they had a negative decision from the IRB within the last 12 months. This is called the “one-year bar.” (If the IRB decides refugee claim is abandoned or withdrawn, that counts as a negative decision.) The bar does not apply if:

    • Applicants have children under 18 years, and who would be adversely affected if the applicant were removed from Canada, or

    • Applicants have proof that they or their dependents suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that cannot be treated in their home country.

  • The applicant cannot apply for humanitarian and compassionate grounds until five years have passed since:

    • The day they became a designated foreign national and/or

    • The IRB made a final negative decision on their refugee claim and/or

    • The applicant got a negative decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

  • If the applicant applied for humanitarian and compassionate grounds and then became a designated foreign national, his/her humanitarian and compassionate grounds application will be suspended for five years from the date:

    • They were designated, or

    • They got a negative decision from the IRB, or

    • They got a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment decision.

Key Considerations for H&C Grounds Applications

Removal Orders and H&C Applications: Individuals subject to a removal order from Canada may consider applying for residency based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, provided they are not subject to any of the specified restrictions. It is crucial to note that initiating an H&C application does not suspend or defer the removal order enforcement. Applicants are obligated to comply with the stipulated departure date in the removal order. As a result, the application for residency under H&C grounds will continue to be processed even after the applicant’s departure from Canada. 

Limitation on Concurrent H&C Applications: An individual may only have one active humanitarian and compassionate application at any given time. 

Exclusion of Certain Risk Factors: It’s important to understand that H&C grounds do not encompass an assessment of risk factors typically associated with refugee protection, such as persecution, risk to life, or exposure to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. These factors are evaluated under different provisions and processes.

H&C Application and Deportation: Filing an H&C application does not automatically protect against deportation. The only exception is for individuals who are awaiting a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). In such cases, the process may offer a temporary reprieve from deportation until a decision is reached.

How Can X Can Help?

Detailed Case Assessment: We evaluate your situation to ensure that an H&C application is the right path for you.

Document Preparation and Submission: Our experts prepare and submit your application, ensuring every detail is accurate and compelling.

Empathetic Approach: We listen to your story and fight for your case as if it were our own.

Proven Track Record: With years of success handling H&C applications, our expertise is to your advantage.

Dedicated Support: Our commitment doesn’t end with submission. We support you until a decision is made and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs ) for BCPNP

H&C consideration provides a special pathway for individuals who do not meet the usual immigration criteria but have compelling humanitarian or compassionate reasons to stay in Canada. It’s designed for exceptional cases that warrant consideration due to hardship or adverse conditions.

Individuals facing extraordinary circumstances, such as severe hardships or family separation, can apply. Eligibility is not defined strictly but assessed based on each case.

Officers consider several factors including the applicant’s establishment in Canada, family ties, the best interests of any children involved, adverse conditions in the home country, health considerations, and potential consequences if the application is not granted.

The process is discretionary, meaning officers assess each case individually based on its merits. Applicants must provide comprehensive evidence to support their claims, as decisions are largely based on submitted documentation.

Hardship in H&C applications refers to severe difficulties or suffering that an individual would face if they had to leave Canada. This may include health, financial, or social challenges that are significantly more burdensome compared to the general population.

Hardship in H&C applications refers to severe difficulties or suffering that an individual would face if they had to leave Canada. This may include health, financial, or social challenges that are significantly more burdensome compared to the general population.

Prove your establishment through documentation of your length of stay, employment history, community involvement, language proficiency, and any assets or investments in Canada.

The child’s best interests are a primary consideration. This includes evaluating the impact of the decision on the child’s wellbeing, safety, education, and emotional development.

You cannot apply for H&C if you have a pending refugee claim or a negative IRB decision in the last 12 months. However, certain exceptions apply, such as having dependent children adversely affected by the removal or facing life-threatening medical conditions not treatable in the home country

Include detailed medical reports and expert opinions if you or your family members face life-threatening conditions that cannot be adequately treated in your home country.

Prepare a detailed, well-documented application that clearly outlines your circumstances, hardships, and the potential risks of returning to your home country. Include affidavits, expert opinions, and any other relevant evidence.

No, you can only have one active H&C application at a time to ensure each case is given the proper attention and resources it requires.

Having significant assets or close family ties in your home country may weaken your H&C claim, as it suggests you have support and resources if you return.

Obtain letters from professionals like school counselors, doctors, or psychologists. These professionals can provide insight into the potential impacts on your children’s mental and physical wellbeing if they return to your home country.