Psychological Reports

In John v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2016 FC 915, Justice Brown provides a helpful summary on how psychological reports are to be treated.

He writes:

Having come to this conclusion, it is not necessary to deal with the other issues re the psychologist’s report and the Gender Guidelines. However, in connection with the psychologist’s report, the RPD appears to have rejected the psychologist’s report on grounds that were directly and recently criticized by the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada in Kanthasamy v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 SCC 61 (Kanthasamy). The RPD states at paras 13-14 of the Decision:

[13] The panel, however, does not find [the psychotherapist’s] assessment to be persuasive evidence and determines that [the psychotherapist] is in no position to state categorically that the PC’s mental and emotional state are the result of her alleged problems in Antigua.

[14] (…) The panel finds that, although the PC may be suffering from anxiety and depression, this may or may not be related to the causes described by the PC in her evidence. Accordingly, the panel gives the psychological assessment, no weight.

[emphasis added]

In Kanthasamy at para 49, the Supreme Court rejected this approach to psychological reports:

And while the Officer did not “dispute the psychological report presented”, she found that the medical opinion “rest[ed] mainly on hearsay” because the psychologist was “not a witness of the events that led to the anxiety experienced by the applicant”. This disregards the unavoidable reality that psychological reports like the one in this case will necessarily be based to some degree on “hearsay”. Only rarely will a mental health professional personally witness the events for which a patient seeks professional assistance. To suggest that applicants for relief on humanitarian and compassionate grounds may only file expert reports from professionals who have witnessed the facts or events underlying their findings, is unrealistic and results in the absence of significant evidence. In any event, a psychologist need not be an expert on country conditions in a particular country to provide expert information about the probable psychological effect of removal from Canada.

[emphasis added]


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