Responding to Procedural Fairness Letters

Where an applicant submits a complete application, but an immigration officer nonetheless has concerns regarding the application, the immigration officer will often provide a fairness letter to the applicant.

We often review applicants’ responses to fairness letters.  It is often apparent that this is either because the applicant did not understand the fairness letter, or because they simply did not know how to respond appropriately.

In this post, which will be updated frequently, I will be providing a series of tips for applicants on how to respond to fairness letters.

1) Address the issues that are raised in the fairness letter.  If the Fairness Letter asks you to provide detailed information as to what you were doing from 1996-1997, then provide detailed information. You can generally assume that you only need to respond to the concerns raised in the Fairness Letter, as the Federal Court has recently determined that it is a breach of procedural fairness for officers to engage in a “bait-and-switch.” (Jin v. Canada, 2014 FC 612)

2) If you are unable to include all the information that you require in a response to a fairness letter, but you would like to submit missing information a short period later, then make sure that your first response indicates that there is more information coming.  (Reznitski)