Humanitarian & Compassionate Applications

Meurrens LawHumanitarian and Compassionate

People who would not normally be eligible to become permanent residents of Canada may be able to apply on humanitarian and compassionate (“H&C“) grounds.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds apply to people with exceptional cases.

Here are 2020 approval statistics for humanitarian & compassionate class applications.

2A-2020-95301_Release package

Sample Decisions

Below are sample H&C decisions that were used in an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada training session.

For each example, IRCC provided a chat to show a portion of the officer’s decision-making steps to describe context of the application.

As can be seen, a big deficiency in many H&C applications is the applicant not providing documentary examples to substantiate their assertions in claim.

The H&C requests were based on the following situations:

  • Domestic violence in Mexico from two former partners
  • Discrimination in Japan
  • Criminal gangs in Honduras
  • Members of a drug cartel
  • Land dispute
  • Adverse country conditions in Bulgaria
  • Membership in a political party
  • Adverse country conditions in China
  • Adverse country conditions in Fiji
  • Religious discrimination in Bangladesh
Sample H&C


In the following years there will likely be many humanitarian & compassionate consideration applications filed by people who worked as front-line workers during COVID-19.  In Mohammed v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 1, Justice Ahmed made a statement about COVID-19 front-line workers in the humanitarian & compassionate context. He wrote:

At a time when most people in Canada were staying at home to avoid the spread of COVID-19, frontline workers were risking their own health to provide essential services. This includes those who worked tirelessly in long-term care homes that saw frequent COVID-19 outbreaks and many deaths. The evidence before the IAD in this appeal included evidence demonstrating the heavy toll COVID-19 has taken on female immigrants working in health care.

An employment letter on the record states that the Applicant has been employed at the Bethany Care Society since December 7, 2020 and is currently working as a Health Care Aide at Bethany Airdrie, a long-term care facility in Airdrie, Alberta. The letter states that the Applicant ““[…] maintains casual employment at Bethany with the ability to pick up additional shifts.”” As counsel for the Applicant aptly pointed out during the hearing, there was nothing casual about working at a long-term care facility during those times. This same facility was hit with a COVID-19 outbreak in early January 2021. Evidence before the IAD shows that on January 4, 2021, Bethany Airdrie reported 40 cases at the facility, including 19 employees and 21 residents, and the deaths of two residents from COVID-19. The entire facility remained under lockdown during this time.

As a health care aide, the Applicant risked her own health and safety to support health-compromised and aging individuals. She is applying the very skills she acquired in Canada over a decade ago at a time when they are desperately needed, while not knowing if she herself will be able to stay in Canada. To frame this commitment and these contributions as only a ““moderately positive”” factor in the Applicant’s appeal is unintelligible.

The moral debt owed to immigrants who worked on the frontlines to help protect vulnerable people in Canada during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be understated. I do not find that the IAD gave this contribution the weight it deserved.