Last Updated on May 12, 2011 by Steven Meurrens

On April 19, 2011, the Federal Court of Appeal declared that Citizenship and Immigration Canada has the authority to waive application fees for humanitarian & compassionate purposes.

My favorite part of the judgment was the following passage:

I do not accept the Minister’s argument on this point. The result of the Minister’s interpretation is this. It is possible as a matter of law for a person with no financial resources to be granted permanent resident status if the Minister is of the opinion that such a decision is warranted by humanitarian and compassionate considerations or public policy considerations. However, because that same person does not have $550, the Minister cannot permit the opening of the door that would engage the Minister’s statutory authority to assess those considerations. In my view, that state of affairs makes no sense.

Accordingly, section 25(1) of IRPA allows the Minister to waive any applicable criteria or obligation under the Act for humanitarian and compassionate considerations and public policy considerations.

It is important to note that while Citizenship and Immigration Canada has the authority to grant a request made by a foreign national in Canada to waive the requirement to pay an application fee, and that if asked by an applicant it has to make a decision on the matter, Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not have to waive the fee.

So don’t jump for joy at the prospect of of not having to pay application fees, because it’s hard to imagine that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be granting too many, if any, waivers.